Cool, rainy spring boosts river flow, but cuts flow of whitewater rafters on the Ocoee River
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
POLK COUNTY, TN (Times Free Press) -
What nature gives with one hand, it takes away with another.
Abundant rain this year has given plenty of water flow for America's top whitewater rafting river in Polk County, Tenn. But the cool and wet spring also hurt business for the commercial rafters that carry more than 200,000 visitors a year through the rapids of the Ocoee River.
The July 4th weekend -- usually one of the busiest for the two dozen licensed rafting companies on the Ocoee -- didn't sell out this year, and most rafting companies said cool and wet weather this spring kept many potential rafters off the river during May and June.
"It's a blessing to have so much water, but it has put a damper on the outdoor recreation tourism business," said Blake McPherson, operations manager for Cherokee Rafting, which has operated on the Ocoee for 35 years. "But the Ocoee is dam-controlled, so as long as TVA can keep the water flowing, we'll be fine, and we're just now coming into our peak season."