Every year Wetumpka is host to the Cossa River Whitewater Festival. Kayakers from across the country come to participate. File photo
Every year Wetumpka is host to the Cossa River Whitewater Festival. Kayakers from across the country come to participate. File photo

Canoeing and kayaking gives Elmore County an economic boost

Published 8:35am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hunting and fishing are the obvious outdoor activities within the state, but in Elmore County shooting the rapids of the Coosa River is becoming just as popular.

While hunting and fishing bring in an estimated $2.7 billion to the state’s economy, kayaking and canoeing continue to be a popular pasttime locally.

Chris Carter opened Coosa River Adventures in 1995 with a 12-passenger van, six canoes and a home-built trailer.

“I have been blessed with 18 years of continuing growth since we opened,” said Carter, whose business now boasts at least 200 kayaks and canoes.

Yes, there is a discrepancy when it comes to the number of years Carter has been in operation and the number of years of growth.

That is in large part to the economic downturn his business has seen this year.

“Our numbers are down about 20 percent because of the weather,” he said. “This has been a really wet year, which is not good for business.”

Carter is not alone.

Lonnie Carden, owner of Coosa Outdoor Center, also has seen a less than flattering year because of an unusually wet summer.

Carden says the peak of the canoeing and kayaking season is from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend.

“This year the weather has been a nightmare for the season,” he said. “Sure we have some pleasant (autumns), but we can’t compete with college football.”

Even with a wet summer, the Coosa River is seeing a continued rise in paddlers, according to Carter.

Carter was the only business in the Wetumpka area servicing the Coosa River in 1995.

Now there are two more locally — Coosa Outdoor Center and Tulotoma Outdoors — for canoeing and kayaking the Coosa.

“We may see a few economic hiccups once in a while, but the Coosa continues to be a great draw,” Carter added.

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