Visitor Centers Open at Fontana Dam, Raccoon Mountain and Norris
May 13, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Valley Authority visitor centers are open for the season at Fontana Dam in North Carolina, Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant near Chattanooga and Norris Dam in Norris, Tenn.
The centers offer information about how TVA operates its electric system and manages the Tennessee River and tributaries.
Fontana Visitor Center, located off N.C. Highway 28 near the Tennessee border, is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Oct. 30. The center is also a stop on the Appalachian Trail with a shelter, showers and public restrooms.
"The impressive views from the visitor center allow people to see Fontana Dam, the highest dam east of the Mississippi River, and watch water being released from the dam after generating electricity," said Laura Smith, manager of the visitor centers.
Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant near Chattanooga is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and offers educational programs to students during the school year. The center is located off Raccoon Mountain Road, which is accessible from U.S. Highway 64/72. Recent improvements include new displays and videos depicting the history of TVA and the construction of the pumped storage facility in the 1970s.
"The drive up the mountain gives visitors the opportunity to see abundant wildlife, and once at the center at the top of the mountain, the overlook to the river below is a scenic view of the narrow gorge just before the river winds into downtown Chattanooga," Smith said.
The Norris Dam Visitor Center is located off Interstate 75, Exit 122 north of Knoxville. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday until Nov. 30. The visitor center overlooks the powerhouse, Norris Reservoir and a marina.
All three centers have maps, videos, displays and written information about TVA and construction of each particular site. TVA retirees serve as guides to answer questions about TVA, the history of the facilities and the surrounding areas.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities that can produce about 34,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA's service territory are below the national average.
Laura Smith, Knoxville, (865) 632-8287
TVA Media Relations, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000