Hundreds rally in Poolesville to get White’s Ferry reopened

Chanting “two years too long,” several hundred people showed up Thursday at the crossing in Poolesville to lend their voice to the cause of reopening White’s Ferry. (WTOP / Kyle Cooper)
Chanting “two years too long,” several hundred people showed up Thursday at the crossing in Poolesville to lend their voice to the cause of reopening White’s Ferry. (WTOP / Kyle Cooper)
Chanting “two years too long,” several hundred people showed up Thursday at the crossing in Poolesville to lend their voice to the cause of reopening White’s Ferry. (WTOP / Kyle Cooper)
Chanting “two years too long,” several hundred people showed up Thursday at the crossing in Poolesville to lend their voice to the cause of reopening White’s Ferry. (WTOP / Kyle Cooper)
(1/4)

It’s been two years since White’s Ferry, which connects Maryland and Virginia, was shut down due to legal disputes. But many who had used the ferry for commute or business are not giving up on getting it reopened.

White’s Ferry has been closed since December 2020 due to a legal dispute with Rockland Farm, the owner of the land on the Virginia side of the river. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Since 1786, White’s Ferry has connected the riverbanks of Poolesville, Maryland, and Leesburg, Virginia. The ferry has been a reliable route for nearly 800 daily users.



Chanting “two years too long,” several hundred people showed up Thursday at the crossing in Poolesville to lend their voice to the cause. Among them was Poolesville Mayor Jim Brown, who said he wants politicians on both sides to make it happen.

”If there was a public road that linked Takoma Park and Kensington that had been blocked off by private people, how long do you think that road would be closed?” Brown said. He believes his town has been forgotten.

White’s Ferry closed at the end of 2020 because of legal battles between ferry operators and the owners of Rockland Farm, who own the property for the ferry landing on the Virginia side.

In 2021, Chuck and Stacy Kuhn, owners of JK Moving Services, bought the ferry operation, but have been unable to come to an agreement with Rockland Farm.

Tom Kettler, president of the Poolesville Chamber of Commerce, said the ferry closure has hit local business owners hard.

“I’ve talked to different restaurant owners in town, and we estimate that probably 20% of their business is being lost,” Kettler said.

Shruti Bahtnagar, of the Sierra Club, said the ferry’s closure has also had environmental impacts.

“In the two years that the ferry has been closed, nearly 9 million miles of travel has been added,” she said. “And that is a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Kyle Cooper

Anchor and reporter Kyle Cooper, has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana, and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up