Whitewater attraction in Chester County getting close to completion

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A new water attraction will open in March in Chester County, which is expected to draw thousands of people for whitewater rafting and paddling on the Catawba River.

Duke Energy engineers have been testing the flow of the water at the Great Falls reservoir, which is slated to open for public use.

The water was dammed up there more than 100 years ago to generate power for textile mills, but Duke Energy has moved water back into the original channels of the river.

The project will feature Class 2 and Class 3 rapids, and a shorter section will have even stronger rapids, officials said.

The area will eventually feature a state park on an island in the river. A pedestrian bridge will connect Great Falls to the island where there will be yurts, which are tents that are used for glamping.

Robert Long, director of Chester County Economic Development, said the project could draw business to the county.

“We’re expecting it to bring in thousands of visitors over the course of the season, March-to-December time frame,” Long said. “How many? We don’t quite know. We think it’s going to be a big hit.”

Two companies are looking into open businesses in the Great Falls area, because of the project.

The public access area is not open to the public just yet.

Officials are warning people to stay out of the water until the area opens in March.

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