RECREATION DEVELOPMENT

Even 200 years ago, the beauty of the area around what is now Great Falls, S.C. was lauded by historians and naturalists. The rugged beauty surrounding the Catawba River and The Great Falls of the Catawba is something that can draw people from around the area and from miles away.

Exciting things are coming to Great Falls in 2022-2023 including many recreation amenities due to the Duke Energy Catawba-Wateree re-licensing agreement in connection with federal licensing of the dams and power plants in the area. Great Falls Home Town Association, a community and economic development non-profit organization, is dedicated to assisting the Town of Great Falls and Chester County in seeing that all the proposed recreational development comes to fruition in the area.

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Between now and December 2022, Duke will open the by-pass reaches of the Catawba which have not had continuous flows since the three dams were constructed more than 100 years ago. There will be two areas, the long by-pass, which is about 2 miles long and the short by-pass which is about 3/4 mile. The long by-pass will have continuous flows for habitat and wildlife which will allow recreation every day of the year. On weekends between March and October, the flows will be increased for whitewater recreation. The short by-pass will also have recreational flows on weekends from spring to fall. This area has been studied, modeled and designed with safety in mind and will bring a variety of experiences to visitors and residents alike.

Additionally, Duke will be building canoe and kayak access areas around the Great Falls and Cedar Creek (a.k.a. Stumpy Pond) Reservoirs. The three kayak put-ins will make available areas on the reservoir that has not had public access. Within the next five years, Duke will also build a fishing area near the base of the Fishing Creek Dam. In cooperation with Katawba Valley Land Trust, Duke will put in a history center at the ruins of the Nitrolee fertilizer plant located on the banks of Fishing Creek which is expected to be completed by December 2022.

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S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism, in partnership with Duke Energy, has plans to develop a state park on the five islands in the Cedar Creek (Stumpy Pond) Reservoir. These islands, Dearborn, Mountain, Hill, Pickett and Bowden will comprise the park but only Dearborn Island will initially be developed. This will include hiking trails, viewing areas, primitive camping and a yurt village. There will be historic interpretation surrounding the ruins of the Mt. Dearborn Armory and Arsenal, built in the early 1800s during President Thomas Jefferson’s administration. The master plan is being completed currently with a park opening date set for 2024. 

The Carolina Thread Trail is a regional network of connected greenways, trails and blueways that reaches 15 counties, 2 states and 2.9 million people. Chester County is one of four counties in South Carolina that are part of that trail system and Great Falls is the southern most point of the system – the terminus of the trail heading south. CTT has made Great Falls a priority and Great Falls Home Town is partnering with them to see that this portion of the trail system is completed. A $100,000 grant was obtained by the town from SCPRT Trails grant program with help from GFHTA.

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Exciting things are coming to Great Falls in 2022-2023 including many recreation amenities due to the Duke Energy Catawba-Wateree re-licensing agreement in connection with federal licensing of the dams and power plants in the area. Great Falls Home Town Association, a community and economic development non-profit organization, is dedicated to assisting the Town of Great Falls and Chester County in seeing that all the proposed recreational development comes to fruition in the area.

“Nothing in South Carolina is equal to the (Great) Catawba falls…"
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Whitewater

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Carolina Thread Trail

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State Park

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Nitrogen Plant Interpretive Site

Great Falls Dearborn Diversion 
Long Bypass Reach - Boater Bypass

 

S20 Design and Engineering 

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Great Falls Diversion
Short Bypass Reach (SBR)

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Mount Dearborn Military Reservation

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