Cocke County whitewater rafting businesses benefit from rain

Cocke County whitewater rafting businesses benefit from rain

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"We decided to go white water rafting today. You are going to get wet anyway, so we are fine with it," said visitor Rusty Michael. "We decided to go white water rafting today. You are going to get wet anyway, so we are fine with it," said visitor Rusty Michael.
With so much water the rapids are actually bigger, and the water is more swift. With so much water the rapids are actually bigger, and the water is more swift.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

HARTFORD (WATE) - Many communities had to delay firework shows and families had to take their holiday picnics inside, but Thursday's rain was not a downer for everyone.

Whitewater rafting company operators in Cocke County say the rain is helping business.

They say the Pigeon River has swelled causing visitors to have a thrilling time this holiday.

"We are on vacation," said Indiana visitor Rusty Michael. "We decided to go white water rafting today. You are going to get wet anyway, so we are fine with it."

Rafting in the Smokies owner, Brenda Shultz, says the recent rain has made the Pigeon River even better for whitewater rafting.

"This is the kind of water our staff goes looking for on their off days," said Shultz. "A normal release is about 1200 cubic feet per second. Today we are well over that. We are between seven and nine."

Usually there are only certain days that they can go rafting because the dam does not release water every day, but with so much rain recently they have had extra days to get people out on the water.

"We have an extra day this 4th of July weekend," said Shultz. "We are going to be able to be open on Sunday which we normally never are."

With so much water the rapids are actually bigger and the water is more swift.

"We only use our senior staff at this time of year with this level of water, and all of them have many, many certifications and our extremely well trained," said Shultz.

The rain has not been all good. The number of people rafting Thursday was a little down from last year. The rain kept some people at home.

Shultz says whitewater rafting is a perfect activity in this type of weather.

Kevin Michael, another visitor from Indiana, said he did not mind the rain either.

"No, because you get to go whitewater rafting," he said.

More than 100,000 people whitewater raft in Cocke County each year.

There are 12 rafting companies located in Hartford.

Rafting season usually continues until the end of October.

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