GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A longtime business owner who has sent thousands of tubers down the Chattahoochee River for the last 20 years says he may be going out of business.
Shoot the Hooch owner Bill Odrey says after having to move his business earlier this year, he doesn’t feel the part of the river he is in is safe for his clients.
“Right now, we cannot open because I don’t feel safe here,” Odrey told Channel 2 Action News. “We’ve had to put our business on hold because we’re not gonna have anybody get hurt or drown.”
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In March, the National Park Service moved river recreation businesses from Powers Island to about 20 miles north near Duluth.
“They told us that this was a better place for the public to be,” he said.
Odrey says that downed trees and strong currents make this portion of the river unsafe.
Ann Honious, the Superintendent of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, says their main focus is the conservation and preservation of nature. Recreation is secondary, as long as it does not impact conservation efforts.
Honious says that when trees fall in the river, they do not remove them because of their conservation mission. They will only trim or remove the trees if they are deemed an extreme safety hazard.
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Another business is already running in the area where Shoot the Hooch is supposed to move.
“With the conditions here,...somebody’s gonna get hurt and drown,” Odrey said.
Honious says the CRNA feels like they have addressed Odrey’s concerns, and that a similar business, Chattahoochee River Tubing, has been operating for years in the same area.
She says it is up to Odrey and the other owners to decide whether to continue running the business or not.
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