To the Editor:
Over the past few years, the West Potomac High School Crew Club has seen the theft of outboard motors, damage to its large workout "tent" caused by strong spring winds, and with June 19's powerful storms, the boat trailer was picked up and tossed on its side causing irreparable damage to a number of these very expensive boats.
The team has weathered these challenges and even thrived, going on to win several important regattas, sending three boats to nationals and garnering full college scholarships for several seniors. However, the future of West Potomac Crew is in jeopardy because the greatest uncertainty now facing the team is having a landing site to call home.
West Potomac Crew Club's origins go back to the Fort Hunt Crew team that began in 1968 and this year's team has more than 70 high school athletes. The team is entirely self-supported receiving no financial help from the school or Fairfax County. And most Crew team members say years after they've graduated that Crew defined their high school experience and helped create life-long friendships.
For the last several years, a stretch of land at National Harbor has been available for the team's use — thanks to the generosity of its owners. But that area is to soon become a construction holding area for the casino that will be built nearby. What this means is the team may not only have no home base from which to meet and practice during three months of Spring, but that West Potomac Crew's future may be at stake.
Several concerned West Potomac Crew parent volunteers looked for potential nearby sites along the Potomac River — which are owned by the National Park Service. The group requested (even temporary) use of the two nearby locations that would seem to make good sense — Belle Haven Marina and the Washington Sailing Marina at Daingerfield Island. In a formal letter back to West Potomac Crew, the NPS' response for Belle Haven Marina was that there is simply no room. This still leaves Washington Sailing Marina — which has a very large area — a good portion of which is unused — that can easily fit the team's boats and launches.
West Potomac Crew needs the support of the community and its elected officials to work with the National Park Service to help find a landing site for our team. Without this — a team with a very long proud history — may well not have a next season.
West Potomac Crew Parent