Nanatahala Outdoor Center Contemplates Expansion

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Western North Carolina’s Tuckaseegee River could soon become home to a brand new whitewater center and outdoor adventure complex.

According to the Sylva Herald, the Nanatahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is currently in talks with Jackson County, North Carolina officials about bringing a “world-class outdoor entertainment complex” to 17.65 acres of county-owned along the banks of the Tuckaseegee River.

While the Sylva Herald reports that a plan for a new Jackson County NOC outpost is all but finalized, both Jackson County and NOC have stopped short of calling the plan a done deal.

“Last year, NOC was approached by Jackson County regarding a potential outfitter location along the Tuckaseegee,” NOC said in an official statement provided to Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine via email.

“We informally presented several high-level concepts to the county for consideration. While we remain excited about the opportunities in Dillsboro, no decisions have been made by NOC to move forward with the project.

We are hopeful that the Jackson County commission will enter into a formal negotiation with us to allow both sides the opportunity to develop specific plans, timelines, and commitments.

Until then, we appreciate the community’s enthusiasm for outdoor recreation along the Tuckasegee and its confidence in the NOC brand, but it is premature to make any announcements at this time.”

Rich Price is the director of Jackson County’s economic development. He said that talks between the county and the outdoor adventure giant are still underway and called the Sylva Herald’s story “premature.”

“Unfortunately, the local media has chosen to jump the gun on this issue,” Price said. “But we are in talks with the Nantahala Outdoor Center and optimistic about the possibility of an adventure center coming to Jackson County.”

The Nanatahala Outdoor Center is Western North Carolina’s largest outdoor adventure outfitter. Established in 1972, NOC currently operates on eight different rivers throughout the area and hosts more than a million guests annually. In addition to white water rafting excursions the company offers zip-lining, mountain biking, and whitewater kayaking instruction.

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