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Celebrating The Chattooga River: 50 Years Of Wild & Scenic Designation And A Legacy Of Adventure

April 2, 2024

BRYSON CITY, NC (April 2, 2024) — This May, the Chattooga Conservancy and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) proudly celebrate a monumental milestone: the Chattooga River’s 50th anniversary as a Wild & Scenic River. This designation, a triumph of conservation, secured the Chattooga’s untamed beauty and thrilling whitewater, making it a national treasure for generations of adventurers.

Flowing through the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Chattooga River offers a wilderness escape like no other. Its Wild & Scenic status, granted in 1974, has been pivotal in preserving its ecosystems and solidifying its draw for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Chattooga’s Wild & Scenic designation, we celebrate the foresighted efforts that preserved this exceptional river,” says Nicole Hayler, Executive Director of the Chattooga Conservancy. “The Chattooga embodies a commitment to conservation and adventure that continues to motivate us. Facing today’s environmental challenges, this milestone not only commemorates past achievements but also reinforces our call to action. We encourage everyone who cherishes the Chattooga to join in this celebration, committing to the river’s ongoing protection.”

NOC and the Chattooga: A Partnership Rooted in History

NOC’s story is intrinsically tied to the Chattooga River. Founded in 1972, NOC has been at the forefront of sharing the Chattooga’s magic. That same year, Payson Kennedy, one of NOC’s founders, famously doubled for Ned Beatty in the iconic film “Deliverance,” which showcased the river’s power and allure. NOC has been guiding rafting trips on the Chattooga ever since, introducing countless people to the river’s excitement and its enduring natural beauty.

The Chattooga’s popularity grew over the decades. Adventurers of all skill levels can find a challenge here, from the heart-pounding Class IV and V rapids of Section IV to the gentler flow that’s perfect for families and kayaking.

“The Chattooga River is a unique treasure, and its Wild and Scenic designation has been instrumental in preserving its wild character and recreational opportunities,” says Ryan Dale, the Chattooga River Manager at Nantahala Outdoor Center. “The NOC is proud to have been a part of the Chattooga’s story for over 50 years, and we remain committed to working with the Chattooga Conservancy and other partners to ensure its health and enjoyment for generations to come.”

Celebrating the Golden Anniversary

Join us in honoring the Chattooga River’s 50th anniversary as a Wild & Scenic River. Through celebration, education, and a continued dedication to stewardship, we ensure this iconic river remains a source of adventure and inspiration for decades to come.

For further details on anniversary celebrations and NOC’s offerings, please visit www.noc.com.

About Nantahala Outdoor Center & The Chattooga River

Nantahala Outdoor Center is a premier outdoor recreation company, with operations in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Welcoming over a million guests annually, NOC offers an extensive array of adventures, including river and land-based activities, world-class paddling instruction, and adventure travel programs. Among these treasures is the Chattooga River, a jewel in the crown of the Southeast’s natural landscapes. Designated as a Wild & Scenic River in 1974, the Chattooga offers unmatched whitewater rafting experiences, set against a backdrop of stunning wilderness that has been preserved for half a century. This river not only represents NOC’s dedication to providing thrilling outdoor adventures but also embodies our deep commitment to conserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the regions we serve. Acknowledged by The New York Times, Outside, and National Geographic Adventure, NOC is celebrated for its exceptional outdoor experiences, significantly enriched by the storied and scenic Chattooga River.

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