DARNESTOWN, Md. - If you are making plans for a family boating or fishing trip on the Potomac River, you may want to check President Donald Trump’s golf schedule first.
This body of water near Darnestown, Maryland is a beautiful, serene part of the Potomac River. But some consider it a security risk. Directly across the water on the Virginia side sits the Trump National Golf Club where the president visits often.
Since March, there have been five times when the Coast Guard had to partially close a section of the river and closely monitor it as Trump or another high-ranking official visited the club.
Now, they are looking into shutting down access to a large section of the river from bank to bank. The Coast Guard and the Secret Service are looking at a plan that would shut down a two-mile stretch of the Potomac River in Maryland that sits across from the golf resort.
“I 100 percent support there should be a security zone,” said Matt Markoff, executive director of Calleva, a summer camp and outdoor education company. “I do believe that we need to have security for our president. I believe that they have the right to do that. I also am 100 percent committed to the access of the Potomac River.”
Right now, the Coast Guard and Secret Service are looking to shut down a more than two-mile stretch of the river any time President Trump or someone deemed a high-ranking official makes a visit. That could cut off access for hours and even days to kayakers, paddle boarders, jet skiers and recreational boaters.
“My big fear is just not having access, not knowing when we don't have access, and as a small business, I am concerned about my students being caught on the other side of the security zone and then not being able to get back and get on the bus to head back home,” Markoff said. “And that is a big concern for me.”
He worries the shutdown could impact his outdoor education program directly across the river where he hosts 500 campers from 80 different local schools every day.
Also affected would be a group called Team River Runner, an organization that teaches healing through paddles sports to veterans and wounded warriors.
Markoff worries he and others here for a good cause are getting the bad end of the deal.
“Transporting canoes that are really large like this and getting them and taking them out of water and taking the kids to another location, it increases the impact of that location – there are safety issues,” he said. “Team River Runner, it’s also a difficult thing. There are very few places that are really easy for handicap veterans to get into the water and have access to the river.”
Markoff added, “I would like to think that they aren't aware of what is going on this side of the river and that when they become aware, they are going to make accessibility to the river something that we can all enjoy.”
If you are impacted by this, you are encouraged to leave a public comment at regulations.gov.