White water rafting spawns ecotourism boom - CBS46 News

White water rafting spawns ecotourism boom

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BLUE RIDGE, GA (CBS46) -

Every summer hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the southern fringe of the Blue Ridge Mountains to experience the special attraction of the Ocoee River. And this destination means big bucks for Georgia. Just two years ago, the state surpassed the $51 billion mark in tourism generated revenue.

In the Ocoee River basin, five closely-knit states of Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas keep white water rafting alive and well. And the money generated here speaks to a whole as to the importance of ecotourism for the state now and in the future. Based on just one river company's figures, they will generate about $1 million in revenue this year alone. And their home county, Fannin County, will see a total impact of $148 million from ecotourism.

River companies operate on the Ocoee River five days a week. The stream flow from the river is dictated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. By utilizing a series of locks and dams, they have developed a rafting destination that provides a consistent and predictable flow of water.

Click here for more information on rafting or kayaking the Ocoee River and the Rolling Thunder River Company.

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