The man who owns Norris Paddling Adventures has expanded to a new venture on the other side of the dam. It is the Appalachia Outdoor Center.
"What this was was the Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA, fish hatchery," John Marquis said.
The fish are long gone but the pond is still there 15 years after the fish hatchery building closed.
"It went up for auction in 2002," he said.
But the distinctive building remained empty.
"Everybody thought all these different ideas. It could be a bed and breakfast. Why can't it be a restaurant or a brewery? There were a lot of thoughts. And my thought, of course, being an outside guide was this would be a great outdoor center where I could now expand my canoe and kayak rentals on the Clinch River and now have bike rentals as well. And just a great place where people can come in and have coffee and something to drink. Ice cream," he said.
John Marquis turned that thought into reality last month when he opened Appalachia Outdoor Center in the former fishery building in what he describes as a perfect yet under appreciated setting.
"You have multiple bike trails, horse trails you can go on, hiking and walking trails. And then you have the beautiful Clinch River and the lake up on top. It has everything," he said.
The store features bicycle rentals including fat tired bikes for off road travel. It has canoe and kayak rentals, including a shuttle service to put people in and out of the river. And there are camping supplies including ice and fire wood.
It's also a place to take a break from all those activites.
"Our coffee is locally roasted in downtown Knoxville. So I partnered with City House Roasters and she has been great in putting that together for me," he said.
John's plan for the pond is to stock it with trout and have a catch and release program.
"Where people can come and watch a guide catch a fish and then the guide can help the people identify if it is male or female, brook trout or rainbow trout, how to properly handle the fish," he said.
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