In March, Pascall Pittman and other founders of Minnie’s Island Community Conservancy (MICC) met with CJ residents to share a vision of an organization “dedicated to the preservation of the ecological, architectural, scientific and humanist legacy of Minnie’s Island.” 

Located in the Potomac River about 100 yards off-shore from Lockhouse 8 on the C&O Canal, Minnie’s Island is roughly eight acres of wild habitat with a dilapidated wooden lodge and large deck at one end. 

Thanks to the outpouring of support from the community and beyond, MICC has made great strides in the intervening seven months. Come to the Oct. 27 CJCA Zoom meeting for a comprehensive update on this exciting project. 

When MICC first started, all of the trails on Minnie’s were completely overgrown and totally concealed. The cabin was replete with debris left by previous occupants, including numerous vagrants. Now, the trails have been significantly cleared and the cabin has been pretty well cleaned of debris and secured. Two structured volunteer days are scheduled for October to continue clearing invasive species and to deliver a 350 lb. wood-burning stove to the cabin. 

Other progress includes: 

MICC has now been designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Potomac Conservancy has indicated that with this designation, they should be able to convey Minnie’s Island to the MICC by the end of October. 

The Natural Resources Committee, under the leadership of Hanna Moerland and technical guidance of Eric Dinerstein, is implementing an Invasive Species Eradication Program. This is a big effort and can really use volunteer assistance. SSL hours are available. 

Our Physical Facilities Committee, led by Neil Shaut, along with many volunteers, located the water well, cleaned the cabin, and delivered a propane BBQ grill to the island. The nationally recognized structural engineering firm, Robert Sillman Associates, with an expertise in historic preservation, is providing guidance on structural upgrades for the cabin. 

MICC is creating an Arts & Design Committee to ensure that everything we do, while respecting conservation and natural resource considerations, is of the highest aesthetic standards, providing for an enriching environment for our target users: veterans, frontline workers, first responders, and students from local schools. Conversations with the National Park Service continue regarding the use of Lockhouse No. 8. 

By Susan Shipp, CJCA President 

Juliet Rodman, MICC Development Committee Chair

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