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The mission of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is to protect and preserve the park's cultural and natural resources, to educate the public about those resources, and to provide for public recreation and enjoyment.
The C&O Canal National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, United States Government, highlights the engineering achievements of the C&O Canal, started in 1828 and completed in 1850. The park covers 185 miles from Georgetown in Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. The park's interpretive and educational programs include a unique opportunity to experience American canal history through its two replica canal boats that utilize operational historic lift locks. Mules pull these boats along the towpath while visitors receive living history demonstrations by costumed interpreters. The park includes over 20,000 acres of diverse natural and cultural resources that form a highly scenic cultural landscape along the Potomac River Valley.
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