Project Name: Nantahala Area Hydro Projects
Summary: Recreational use and needs studies
Client: Duke Energy Corporation
Project Location: Western North Carolina
Project Size: 800 square miles
• Recreation Planning
Project Timeframe: 2001 - 2003
Relationship with Client: Since 1997
Duke Energy Corporation (Duke) was required to assess recreational use occurring within their seven Nantahala Area projects to support hydropower license applications submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Study objectives included characterization of recreational use and experiences within the study area, estimation of future potential recreation demand, and assessment of recreational carrying capacity.
Kleinschmidt designed studies for the seven projects which were approved by Duke as well as by the Technical Leadership Team - a stakeholder group comprised of government and public interests. Kleinschmidt used a combination of data collection methods to collect recreation use data within the projects’ areas including on-site spot counts, contact surveys, and mail surveys. Kleinschmidt then analyzed and reported the survey results to meet project objectives. As a result of this study, Duke gained a deeper understanding of potential recreational use and facility needs for the future which are important aspects of planning for the Nantahala Area projects.
The studies enabled Duke to plan accordingly in order to accommodate future recreational activity and meet FERC relicensing requirements. An understanding of the carrying capacity of project waters and recreation sites contributes to Duke’s ability to manage its recreation sites to balance the needs of users with the needs of the environment.