OCOEE RIVER AREA


Historically, copper was the mainstay industry of the copper basin area in this corner of Polk County, Tennessee. Even the original inhabitants, Cherokee Indian farmers, produced limited amounts of copper, during their residence in the area.

Over time, copper mining became unprofitable, and new technology permitted sulphuric acid products to take its place. Eventually, all mining ceased in the area, with sulphur being imported for acid production. Reforestation efforts began as early as the 1920's and have continued ever since, with more than 16 million trees having been planted.

Today, the Ocoee River area appears the same as many of the National Forest recreational areas of the southeast. The Cherokee National Forest, and the Ocoee River itself, provides a home to many animals including black bear. A thriving recreational industry is present, providing opportunities for rafting, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, camping and backpacking, fishing, mtn biking, and horseback riding.

The Ocoee River flows through the copper basin, creating one of the most exciting and reliable whitewater runs in the southeast US, with the title of the only Olympic whitewater course in the US.

Numerous potholes have been carved out over the millions of years, through the hard granite folds, as the river has flowed down stream, creating the rapids we enjoy today. One of the most popular sections of the river for playing is the Blue Holes located on the Upper, which is a section marked by the numerous large potholes which pool the river when the water is turned off. Swimmers frequent this area when the water is turned off.

Given the Copper Basin's history, many environmental groups and projects have emerged, working to protect the area and the water. Among them the Conasauga River Watershed Ecosystem Project, Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, and the Ocoee Whitewater Rodeo, an annual event held to raise money for river conservation.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors to this area have grown to appreciate the power of the whitewater and the growing beauty of the area. Being an easy day trip from Atlanta GA, Chattanooga TN or Knoxville TN, and all points in between, the Ocoee River is a quick mini-vacation available to those with even the smallest time frame.

Water quality
TVA Water Use
EPA water quality report

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