Despite my position as head of my school’s Environmental Club, I did agree with some of the points in “Hate Canal” (11/7). The cleanup efforts, especially for the latest flood, were poorly organized. Ten Richard Montgomery High School students went to a Saturday cleanup and were left idle for most of the day. This was the case for many other would-be participants. I would doubt that Congress would have to reach for its purse if all these volunteers had been properly employed and utilized.

Yet this calls for a restructuring of the National Park Service, not for any radical changes to the canal itself. While the canal serves no true ecological purpose, it still should be maintained. It has great value as a novelty. The canal is the only straight piece of land stretching for 200 miles that is also car-free.

The author recognizes the canal’s pitiable past. This past should not be forgotten; the canal should remain as a historical relic of early forms of transportation. The B&O Railroad Museum, located a block away from my school, is a small and cramped building with several uninteresting displays. I hope we never reduce the canal to this.

The canal should be given greater credit for its recreational benefit. When I was 12, I had an extremely meaningful bike trip with my father from Harpers Ferry to Georgetown. Biking trips through Rock Creek Parkway can become quite mundane.

Rockville, Md.

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