Whitewater project nears completion minus one outfitter - WRBL

Whitewater project nears completion minus one outfitter

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As the Whitewater project nears its May 25 grand opening there's still lots of work to be done, especially now that outfitter Nantahala Outdoor Center has backed out.

River construction is almost complete, but the crews are still adding the finishing touches, and Whitewater Express is ramping up their preparations to operate on both sides of the river.

NOC is one of the biggest names in rafting, but a representative tells our media partner the Ledger-Enquirer their busy schedule is why they broke ties with the Columbus project.

Uptown Columbus, Inc.'s Richard Bishop says, "It's disappointing not to have them, but we understand we have to move forward. We have Whitewater Express who has over 30 years of experience already here, and we're ready to team up with them to run both sides of the river."

Whitewater Express President Dan Gilbert says, "This is a grand opportunity for us. We're so excited and we just want everybody to come and enjoy the fun."

Gilbert says thousands of trips have already been booked down the river for the first season. He adds that eventually Whitewater Express will have a presence on both sides of the river, but for now The Outside World will help out in Columbus.

"We're going to go into their shop and have a presence in their store so people can walk right in and easily book a trip and be a part of Outside World in that way," says Gilbert.

Whitewater Express is also lowering prices for river runs now that NOC is out of the picture. Gilbert says it's important to make access to Whitewater available for everyone.

"We thought that this was a fundamental change in what's going on down here on the river," he says, "and we felt like the pricing structure that we had set up was a little bit high for the first year, and it was a chance for us to do what we wanted to do, and we want more people on the river."

In the opening season, low-flow runs, which will occur between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., will cost $32.50 per person. The high-flow runs, which will be in the late afternoon, will cost $48.50 per person. That will include two runs.

Gilbert says the biggest focus now is spreading the word. He and his team will be in both the Columbus and Phenix City communities to promote the grand opening.


Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

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