I would like to comment on Erik Wemple’s article on the C&O Canal (“Hate Canal,” 11/7), and the letters in response to that article. My understanding of the original article is that while it is good to preserve the park and the historic structures, it is a waste of money to keep large sections of the canal full of water. I can wholeheartedly agree with this. I’m a lifelong area resident; I’ve hiked and ridden horses and bicycles on many miles of the canal. Although I think that the park and the historic structures should be maintained, keeping water in the canal does seem to be a losing battle against nature, and perhaps the money could be spent in better ways than keeping the canal in water.

One case in point is the area between Great Falls Tavern and the Old Angler’s Inn. From what I’ve read, the canal at this point inhabits what was once the path of the river itself. In major floods, the river reclaims its old path, as can be seen in the part of the canal that was so widened after Hurricane Agnes that it now resembles a lake. Although there are certainly parts of the canal that should still have water in them, such as the part where the canal boats now carry tourists, other parts could be reclaimed by nature while the adjoining towpath could still be maintained.

And I don’t think that the Monocacy Aqueduct is as remote and forgotten as the author seems to think; when I was growing up in Rockville, my family often drove out there, and in the years since I’ve read a number of articles by people who visit there frequently and chronicled its popularity. Also, it can be clearly viewed by passengers on MARC and Amtrak trains who turn their heads in the right direction.

On another subject altogether, I read the article about the polo players (“The Heiress and the Gaucho,” 10/31) and was quite pleased by it. I used to work as a groom for Jack Whittemore (who is mentioned in the article), and it was one of the few articles I’ve ever read about the horse business that actually portrays it correctly. The only mistake I saw was the frequent reference to thoroughbreds. Although this is the breed of choice among Argentinians, many Americans play on quarter horses, which are actually better suited to the game since they’re smaller and more agile. I noticed several photographs that show two horses, one of each breed—the thoroughbreds are taller, less muscular, and have longer heads and ears.

Thomas Circle

via the Internet