Over the last couple of years the group of Ocoee River Outfitters, Ocoee Adventure Center included, have been scared about the looming expiration date of the contract with TVA that guarantees water for rafting on the Ocoee River. The 35-year contract was set to expire on March 16, 2019. Negotiations for a new contract started up between TVA and the Outfitters association in 2015. Early negotiations were looking uncertain due to the rate hikes being proposed by TVA that would subsequently cause a steep increase in the price of rafting for our guests.
In light of these adversities the Outfitters Association reached out to local politicians for assistance and they answered the call. Senator Mike Bell and Representative Dan Howell began working on legislation to secure the future of our beloved Ocoee. This legislation allocated 11.8m dollars to fund recreational releases on the Ocoee and created an oversight committee and fund that would reimburse the state through fee’s gathered from rafting guests. This new agreement will guarantee water releases for the next 15 years. This Bill made it through both the Tennessee General Assembly and was signed by Gov. Haslam on June 27, 2017.
Ocoee Adventure Center guides and staff are all very excited to witness the changes that will come from the States involvement in the Ocoee River Basin. We hope that these changes will go to benefit our guests through improvement of facilities in and around the Ocoee area.
TVA has posted the details of this contract on their website, accessible at https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Environmental-Stewardship/Environmental-Reviews/Ocoee-River-Whitewater-Rafting-Agreements.