Charlotte, North Carolina is now home to the world’s premier outdoor recreation and education center. This state of the art facility is the U S National Whitewater Center who’s stated mission is to promote healthy and active lifestyles as well developing environmental stewardship. Another goal of the non-profit organization is to encourage family and as well as civic interaction.
Located on the Catawba River just ten minutes outside the city, the USNWC is not only the world’s largest and most high tech man made river, it also features 11 miles of trails for hiking, running and mountain biking. Climbing enthusiasts will appreciate facilities for indoor as well as outdoor climbing.
Three time Olympic Scott Shipley is the heart and soul of the center having lent his engineering skills and vast whitewater experience to the project. Designer Gary Lacy and entrepreneur Jeff Wise worked with Scott to create the largest artificial river in the world over a period of several years which opened in June of 2006. Their combined efforts have resulted in a truly remarkable feat of engineering.
The center has four channels into which 536,000 gallons of water is pumped PER MINUTE. The power bill for the center is approximately $120,000 PER MONTH. The four courses freestyle, wilderness, competition and big water can be rearranged to suit the desires of the management and/or event requirements. A million dollar filtration and ultra violet treatment system insures that the water will be safe for park guests at all times.
Whitewater rafting, whitewater Kayaking, flatwater boating, climbing, trail running, and mountain biking can all be enjoyed within the 307 acre facility. The center also features a multi faceted Challenge course for teams or corporate groups which provides activities designed to encourage team building, problem solving, leadership, communication and other team building skills.
The center also offers the largest outdoor climbing facility in the United States with approximately 5,700 square feet of climbing surface and over 40 different routes.
A 2,400 square foot conference center, open air amphitheater, restaurant and outfitter shop round out the picture. This is one amazing place.
Other man-made bragging points include the world’s steepest slalom channel, the world’s highest volume "big water" paddling channel and specific areas designed for instruction, safety and rescue training, even a 7-foot-tall big surf wave designed to replicate a Colorado kayaking favorite known as the "M Wave" in Montrose. All of these features can be manipulated by a variety of features, including head gates that alternately open and close the channels. Overhead lighting allows boaters to paddle into the night.
The U S National Whitewater Center is the home of United States Canoe and Kayak and is the official training site for the Olympic team.