Nantahala Project, Nantahala River, North Carolina

HRC or member-contributed


Hydropower Reform Coalition


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License SummariesSoutheastPublished   3/1/2020

This project is located on the Nantahala River and two tributaries, Dicks Creek and White Oak Creek, in western North Carolina. The Nantahala River is one of the most popular recreational rivers in the United States. Beyond its picturesque setting and level of difficulty suited perfectly to unguided canoes, kayaks and rafts, the Class II-III section of the Nantahala has been a recreational mecca for decades rooted in its longstanding history of predictable flow from the Nantahala Dam operated by Nantahala Power and Light, now Duke Energy.

The Class IV-V bypassed section of the river was ignored until paddlers’s skills and equipment encouraged exploration and, eventually, regular use. The new license includes scheduled releases to this upper reach.

Signatories to the Nantahala agreement are: Duke, American Whitewater, Big Choga Homeowners Association, Carolina Canoe Club, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Mountain Shadows Homeowners Association, Nantahala Community, Nantahala Gorge Association, Nantahala Highlands Estates Property Owners Association, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Nantahala Racing Club, Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Southwestern North Carolina Resource Conservation & Development, Swain County Economic Development Commission, Swain County Soil & Water Conservation District, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service.

License summary originally prepared in 2013. Updated in 2020 in partnership with River Management Society.

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