The History of the Upper Ocoee releases
The reshaping of the riverbed made the Upper Ocoee much more desirable for Commercial Rafting due to larger continuous rapids and the fame of the Olympics. The Outfitters again formed up to lobby for water releases from TVA for the Upper Ocoee. After a test year in 1997 with seven days of releases, a contract was secured for 34 days per year of water releases on the Upper Ocoee until the same end date as the Middle Ocoee in 2018. The 34 days were weekend days from Memorial Day to Labor Day and some additional Saturdays in May and September. Outfitters could now offer three rafting options for their guest: Middle Ocoee; Upper Ocoee and a full river trip which combined the two sections.
New Contract on the Ocoee. For 2019 there is a new 15-year contract in place for both sections of the Ocoee River. The State of Tennessee negotiated with TVA for water releases for this time period and a 10% will be charged by the Outfitters to repay the funds.