Rafting 2019

Earlier this season officials conducted their yearly inspection of area rafting companies. From left are Cocke County Clerk Jan Brockwell, Wildwater Rafting Operations Manager Suzanne Stewart, Sgt. William Collier, Cocke County Rafting Clerk Shalee McClure Benson, Trooper Travis Eggers, Cocke County EMA Director Joe Esway, and Cocke County River Control Officer Grady James.

HARTFORD—Early numbers from the Cocke County Clerk’s office indicate the 2019 White Water Rafting season will be a good one.

That’s especially good news. In 2016 the county recorded an all time high of 202,871 paid customers which meant $405,742.00 flowed into county coffers, plus an additional $6,000.00 in permit fees paid by the dozen rafting companies.

Those numbers dropped significantly in 2017 when only 168,934 paid customer were recorded. Additionally one of the dozen rafting companies closed its doors which added a $500 loss to the permit fees collected.

Last year the number of paid customers rose to 185,376, and already the 2019 year has seen a rise in numbers over last year’s visitors.

The number of paid customers begins in March of each year and this year’s numbers almost tallied exactly with those of last year. In 2018, 1,429 paid customers were recorded. This year that number dropped by 5 to 1,424.

However April’s numbers more than doubled from those in 2018, from 2,394 in 2018 to 5,034 in 2019.

Since the rafting industry began in 1995, Cocke County has received $5,702,106, money that goes into the county’s general fund.

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