Potomac River, Washington, D.C., January 26, 2019
It was a disaster piled on a disaster. The government has been shut down for a month and a series of massive floods made an absolute mess of Fletcher’s Cove. With shad season only a couple months away the folks running the boat rental concession along the Potomac River near the C&O Canal were getting desperate. Piles of debris blocked the road leading to the parking lot, silt had filled in the cove, and the park facilities were a mess.
Mike Bailey thanks volunteers. With the Park Service employees on furlough during the partial government shutdown people pitched in to clean the park.

A call for help went out and folks responded with picks, shovels, wheel barrows, and chain saws. Orders were issued, plans were made, and the cleanup of the park was underway.
Volunteers listen to Mike Bailey before the start of the cleanup effort.

Not much was said and orders were kept to a minimum. People knew what needed to be done and just did it.
A chainsaw crew slices up a log into manageable pieces.

Chainsaw crews began their effort at the cove and slowly moved toward the kayak/canoe launch area. The main push was centered around clearing space around the picnic tables, grilling areas, and lower parking lot.
Before the cleanup. Debris from a series of floods were spread across the park from the cove to the kayak/canoe launch area.

Volunteers showed up throughout the day and with their hard work most of the park was put into a fairly decent shape before noon.
After the cleanup. Large logs, debris, and human-produced junk were moved, stacked and bagged.

With the partial government shutdown over, at least for the next three weeks, hopefully Park Service personnel will be able to load and truck out the piles of stacked and bagged junk. It was a great and worthwhile effort by everyone.

Fletcher's Boat House is located on the Potomac River in Washington, DC, two miles north of Key Bridge and one mile south of Chain Bridge, at the intersection of Reservoir Road and Canal Road. You will know you have reached the entrance to Fletcher's when you see the traffic lights and the Abner Cloud House, an old white stone building, which is next to the canal, and will appear on your left if you approach from Key Bridge, or it will be on your right approaching from Chain Bridge. The Fletcher’s boat rental office usually opens at 7am, but when the shad are biting hot and heavy they open earlier to accommodate anglers. You can get a D.C. fishing license and a boat at the rental kiosk. They also sell basic fishing equipment, bait, lures, hot dogs, candy, chips, drinks and ice cream.

WARNING: The entrance to Fletcher’s Cove is a very narrow ramp that can accommodate only ONE car at a time. There is a stop light and a small pull-off area where a car can wait for the light to turn without blocking incoming access. And it is REALLY difficult to negotiate this ramp if you approach Fletcher’s Cove via Chain Bridge because the entry ramp will be facing away from your direction of travel. There is NO RAMP facing Chain Bridge, so you will probably have to drive backwards down the ramp. Park in the upper lot on your left or continue through the low tunnel (if you have a large SUV or van with roof racks, I suggest checking the tunnel height BEFORE entering) to the lower parking lot and dock access. Watch out for cars exiting the tunnel!

WARNING ON WEEKDAYS: Both lanes of Canal Road become ONE WAY into and out of the District during morning and evening rush hour during the weekdays. If you're hitting Fletcher's in the morning and following the route above you have to get on Canal Road BEFORE 6am. If you miss this window you must wait until 10:20am because all traffic on Canal Road is ONE WAY into the city. You must use Canal Road via Chain Bridge. Canal Road goes the other way, towards Chain Bridge, from 2:45 to 7:15pm.