MCFRS News Release

Press Conference: Potomac River Safety

Thursday, May 24, 2012
10:00 a.m.
Great Falls Park, Overlook #3
9200 Old Dominion Drive, Great Falls/McLean, Virginia

Great Falls - - - In an effort to focus attention on the dangers of the Potomac River Gorge, officials from federal, state, county and local agencies and private organizations will join forces to renew their efforts at focusing public attention on the serious and deadly dangers of the 14-mile stretch of the Potomac River from Great Falls to the Key Bridge.

Representatives from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, the National Park Service (NPS), the United States Park Police (USPP), Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Harbor Patrol, which comprise the Potomac River Safety Task Force, are calling for a renewed effort to raise the visiting public’s awareness of the inherent dangers in the Potomac River Gorge and to address the increase in hiking incidents along the trails of the C&O Canal.     

Featured at the press event will be a first-person account of a near tragic situation just south of Great Falls told by a wife whose husband and teenage neighbor nearly lost their lives while canoeing just south of Great Falls in May 2011. This first-person account will tell the story of how this potential tragedy was averted and what visitors to the area need to know.  

Reporters and news photographers will be provided a photo opportunity with Montgomery and Fairfax County Fire & Rescue swift water rescue boats providing access onto the river to show the hazards of the Potomac River Gorge and of the Billy Goat Trail, part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.   

Directions:  Take I-495/Beltway Exit #44 to Virginia Route 193 Westbound (Georgetown Pike) approximately 4.5 miles west of the Beltway and turn right at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive.   Follow Old Dominion Drive into Great Falls Park.  There is free parking in the parking lot. News organizations will need to walk approximately one-half mile from the parking lot to Overlook #3.

NOTE: News photographers and reporters are strongly advised to wear appropriate footwear, rain gear and clothing for wet and muddy conditions.

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