Negotiations regarding a new contract for Ocoee River recreational releases began during 2015. Early negotiations were looking uncertain due to TVA’s proposed rate hikes. The initial proposed rate hike would have caused a steep increase in the price of whitewater rafting for our guests. The Ocoee Adventure and other Ocoee River outfitters were represented by the Ocoee River Outfitter Association. The outfitter association lead negotiations with TVA to obtain a new contract to keep the Ocoee River running. The outfitters were concerned about the looming expiration date of the Ocoee River recreational releases contract with TVA. That recreational release contract guaranteed water for whitewater recreation on the Ocoee River during the rafting season. The original 35-year contract was to expire on March 16, 2019.
In light of these adversities the Outfitters Association reached out to local politicians for assistance. State Senator Mike Bell and Representative Dan Howell answered the call and began working on legislation. Action to secure the future of our beloved Ocoee River whitewater. This Tennessee legislation allocated 11.8 million dollars to fund recreational releases on the Ocoee River. As well as creating an oversight committee and fund that would reimburse the state through fee’s gathered from rafting guests. This new agreement guarantees water releases for the next 15 years. Our 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 State of Tennessee’s involvement in the Ocoee River Basin. We hope that these changes will also benefit our guests through future improvements of facilities in and around the Ocoee area.
TVA has posted the details of this contract on their website.