On Memorial Day weekend of this year, whitewater rafting officially opened on a two and a half mile stretch of the Chattahoochee beginning just south of the North Highland Dam, which was built in 1899-1902 by the Bibb Manufacturing Company to supply hydroelectric power to operate its textile mill in what became known as Bibb City, and ending just behind the Columbus Iron Works Convention and Trade Center in the shadow of the Dillingham Street Bridge.
With its opening, this stretch of the Chattahoochee River has become the longest urban whitewater course in the world! The economic power of the river has been transformed from that of hydroelectric power generation, supplying power to textile mills and other manufacturing sites, to the generation of opportunities for recreation and enjoyment of the river which has served the city of Columbus for its nearly two hundred years of existence.
The signature rapid on the whitewater course is called “Cut Bait Rapid”, a class IV+ rapid. The rapid ends rafters’ run with a bang, offering a thrill ride for the rafters, just before sending them into the river, while family, friends, and other onlookers watch from the rocks. Cut Bait is for those who are more adventurous, and who want to fully experience whitewater rafting in Columbus.
So now for us here in Columbus, the expression “Fish or Cut Bait” has taken on its new meaning. If someone challenges you to either fish or cut bait, tell them you’ll “Cut Bait!”
David Payne, Accounting Manager