WILLIAMSPORT, Md. (AP) — The National Park Service is testing a type of watercraft in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park that was once the dominant type of vessel on the waterway.

The agency plans to place a replica of a 30-foot launch boat Tuesday morning in the Cushwa Basin at Williamsport.

People generally associate the canal with barges pulled by mules between Cumberland and the District of Columbia. But the park service says launches powered by steam or electric engines were more commonly used for both pleasure and business.

The agency says the launches can carry 15 to 18 passengers. The park service is testing them for use at Widewater, Pennyfield, Williamsport, Big Pool, Hancock and Cumberland.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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