State Assemblyman Dan Howell was unanimously elected as the next chair of the Ocoee River Recreation and Economic Development Fund Board.
The 15-member state board was established by the General Assembly in 2017 to support recreational water activities on the Ocoee River, oversee its management zone, and promote economic growth along the waterway.
“Every year, visitors flock to southeast Tennessee to enjoy the Ocoee River and experience the natural beauty of the area,” said Rep. Howell. “It is important that we capitalize on this interest by expanding opportunities for tourists to experience all the hiking, cycling, hunting and river activities the area has to offer. I am honored to have been elected Chair and look forward to serving all who benefit from the Ocoee River.”
Rep. Howell was elected Chairman of the Board for a two-year term. He may serve up to three terms or six years in the role. The position was previously held by former state senator Mike Bell, who resigned in August to become senior adviser on legislative affairs and policies for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Located in the Cherokee National Forest, the Ocoee River has 10 miles of rapids available for commercial rafting. It also features the world’s only natural Olympic-sized water course.
With 24 outfitters operating along the stretch of river, the Ocoee remains Polk County’s most popular tourist attraction. According to the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development, the industry accounted for $38 million in total revenue statewide in 2021. The branch employs 363 people locally.
More information about the Ocoee River Recreation and Economic Development Fund Board can be found here.
MP Howell represents House District 22, which includes Meigs, Polk and part of Bradley counties. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at (615) 741-7799.