ELIZABETHTON — The members of the Surf Betsy Advisory Board recently had the chance to review and comment on a 38-page report that is the phase 1 evaluation of alternative locations for a proposed whitewater park on the Doe or Watauga rivers in Elizabethton.
The report was created by River Restorations, the group hired by the Elizabethton City Council to study the plans for developing the park. River Restorations is an engineering firm from Carbondale, Colorado. The firm specializes in environmentally sensitive river construction techniques and its ability to design and implement river projects.
The evaluation provided a first look at what a white water park might look like in Elizabethton’s future outdoor recreation program.
“We are very excited about the work River Restorations has done with this study as it will be a key component on whether or not a white water park will work along the Doe and Watauga rivers,” Mike Mains, Parks and Recreation director, said. “We were extremely fortunate to have been able to work with (East Tennessee State University’s) College of Business as they also assisted us with the economic impact component of such a facility. Now having River Restorations take that next important step in the design research phase is a great win in the research this project.”
The report will look at the two rivers and how they both could possibly be developed for white water park use. It will identify several locations along the Doe and Watauga in which wave features would be constructed for white water activities. Estimated cost, annual maintenance, and comparisons with other successful white water park facilities will all be included in the final report.
Some Surf Betsy Advisory Board members liked their look at the first draft.
“The report was impressive, very thorough, and well supported with data and real-world experience,” Chairman Bill Schooley said. “The expertise of River Restorations is undeniable. This report brings the project into better focus, resolves many questions, and points to a defined path forward. We can visualize the end result and it looks great.”
Advisory team member Wes Bradley said, “This plan gives great direction and clarity for the potential to enhance outdoor recreation in our area like never before. The plan helps define the project(s) in potential locations, potential budget of each element, and all the many governmental agencies we will expect to work with during the project.
“It also shows great metrics of how Surf Betsy elements would compare with other existing whitewater parks,” Bradley said. “The Phase 1 Report from River Restorations was excellent. It really helped bring to life the possibilities with the potential project, while helping to answer several key questions/concerns.”