New water attraction opens to the public this weekend

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A new water attraction on the Catawba River in Chester County is expected to boost the local economy while making it a destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

For years, Duke Energy has been working on the Great Falls enhancement project to provide recreational and environmental enhancements at Great Falls Reservoir.

People will now be able to raft, paddle, and do other outdoor activities along the river.


“This project, we are opening today, will allow people to go into the long bypass reach of the river, which over the past century, has been dry,” said Tim Huffman, senior project manager at Duke Energy.

The water was held back by a dam for decades to generate power for textile mills.

Duke Energy has moved water back into the original channels of the river and this weekend, people from all over can enjoy a host of water activities.

“This is a natural river flow, and you have two miles of whitewater that you access through the structures that we have built,” Huffman said at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Bryan O’Neal, the owner of Benford Brewing Company, said the project is already drawing customers into his business.

“The campers have reached out to us and they’re reaching out about camping and places to stay,” O’Neal said.

He said the project will transform Great Falls and surrounding counties.

“I remember when North Davidson got started and there was nothing down there and it turned to NoDa,” he said. “I remember it like it was yesterday and I think the same thing is going to happen to Great Falls. It’s going to turn into a recreational destination for people to visit.”

The Great Falls Reservoir will also eventually feature a state park, a small island, and walking trails.

The waterways will be officially open to the public on Saturday.

For information on scheduled recreation flow releases, visit: duke-energy.com/lakes.

VIDEO: Whitewater attraction in Chester County getting close to completion