RILEY'S LOCK, MD (WUSA9) - Summer camp operators, Olympic athletes, and wounded warriors are among those who may be banned from a heavily used section of the Potomac River whenever President Donald Trump decides to play golf at his Trump National course near Sterling, Va.
The U.S. Coast Guard has announced a closure area that will occur for the entire 2/3rd-mile width of the river from a point upstream of Riley's Lock, to an historic rock dam at Violette's Lock.
The closure effectively cuts off all access to one of the most popular and accessible whitewater paddling areas in the region, as well as to a large area popular with jet skiers and boaters upstream of the dam.
The area is accessed by boat ramps at Seneca Creek on the Maryland side and Algonkian Regional Park on the Virginia side.
River users are in shock and outrage is building.
"He can go play golf somewhere else," said Susan Sherrod of the Canoe Cruisers Association, which is protesting the proposal. "Why should hundreds be forced to stay home so the president can play golf?"
The Coast Guard is accepting public comments on the proposed closure area until August 9th.
One of the largest users of the river is Calleva, which provides youth programs for at least 5,000 children per season. Calleva operates a camp area on an island that would effectively by isolated by the closure area and force it to suspend its normal operations when the president is on the golf course.
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"This is a serious threat to numerous businesses," said attorney Adam Van Grack, chairman of USA Canoe and Kayak. The organization is the national governing body for Olympic team members. Van Grack also represents Calleva.
The area is used by Olympic athletes like Ashley Nee, who trains in the area, and by groups that provide watersports training and access to wounded warriors, according to Van Grack.
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