Lower gas prices boost Ocoee whitewater bookings

DUCKTOWN, Tenn. (AP) -- Lower gas prices and the prospect of federal stimulus money have officials in the Ocoee River area optimistic about the region's whitewater and other outdoor attractions having a big year.

Officials of several stakeholders met with Polk and Bradley officials Monday at the Ocoee Whitewater Center in Ducktown.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press quoted Tennessee Overhill Director Linda Caldwell saying when gas prices were high last September, ridership dropped sharply on the Old Line Railroad through the Hiwassee Gorge, but they now already are receiving calls about the trips.

Officials said whitewater rafting bookings are up.

Cherokee National Forest Supervisor Tom Speaks said stimulus funding will add Forest Service jobs.

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(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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