What is Minnie’s Island?

It’s not some far-off exotic island or a hair care product.  It’s just 100 yards off shore from Lockhouse 8 on the C&O Canal and is roughly eight acres of boulders, trees, plants, and wildlife. Accessible only by canoe, the island features a 30-foot by 15-foot wooden cabin with a large deck.  In addition, Minnie’s is home to many rare species of plants brought by frequent floods–wildflowers bloom in the spring, warblers sing in the towering trees and young mergansers hone their diving skills in the river.

The beginning of modern time for the island was 1904 when John Trammell and Minnie Jenkins staked a claim on the island.  It served as a vacation property for them and then changed hands several times before it was donated in 1994 to the Potomac Conservancy by the owners at the time–Margaret Ruess and Bobbi Miller.  In 2021, it was donated by the Potomac Conservancy to Minnie’s Island Community Conservancy (MICC).  MICC’s vision is to engage the community in making the island an inviting, accessible, and safe environment for nature-based recreation, social connection, education, conservation, and scientific research.

As this is a relatively new resource, MICC is actively considering uses and next steps.  Ideas include nature walks, volunteer activities days, organized youth camping for groups fewer than 20, sponsored Eagle Scout/Gold Award and SSL projects, arts and wellness-related day trips, and engagement with Washington Biologists’ Field Club.

CJCA and MICC are planning an open house later this year with plenty of volunteer canoe ferrymen to help everyone in the community reach Minnie’s for a visit.  In the meantime, please visit MICC’s website at https://www.minniesisland.org to learn more.

by Scott Lewis

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