Water recreation’s economic impact on the Tennessee Valley

When you hear the words white water rafting, you probably think of a river, a raft and of course those white rapids, but actually, it's the dollar signs that make a big splash.

"Water recreation, the reservoir and river system brings in about $12 billion a year in economic development for the entire Tennessee Valley region. For just this area alone it's around $44 million a year," said David Bowling, vice president of Land and River Management for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

This kind of revenue doesn't just come from white water rafting; it comes from all sorts of water-related activities and tourist attractions.

"Whether you're a white water rafting, or you're a bass fisherman, or you're a trout fisherman the way we do recreation in the valley is huge," Bowling said.

"Families like to come they like to do it with guides, they have to get equipment, they're spending money eating at the great restaurants and hotels and cabin rentals, so there's a lot of opportunities for families to come and spend money here not only on just the river itself but al the other retail stores and services that the area provides for this system," said Suzanne Fisher a senior programming manager with TVA .

Water recreational activities help bring money in and it also means more opportunities for cash for the residents of the Tennessee Valley.

"It employs 1,000 seasonal employees which is equivalent to 600 full-time jobs for the area, plus it provides 50-60 full-time jobs for management in the white water industry," said Keith Jenkins, president of Quest Expeditions.

Views like the great outdoors and all the fun on the water are bringing big waves to the economy here in the valley and good times for you and your family as well.

For more information on outdoor activities here in the valley, visit TVA's website.

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