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      Paddling for progress

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A program aiming to bring more money to the Palmetto State is giving local leaders new ideas for tourism.

      Paddling for Progress is an initiative that would bring paddle courses to Columbia Rivers.

      "We have so much potential and it's really encouraging because we have a number of smart people and great agencies are getting together to collaborate to make that plan a vision" said Kim Kustafik, City of Columbia.

      Kustafik is a storm water tech and knows all about the rich history of the Columbia Canal.

      "Once you get out here you can't help but fall in love with all of this stuff right here" said Kustafik.

      Not only would the program create an economic boost for the Midlands it promotes outdoor activities throughout the community.

      Tourism experts say that a paddle experience can cost anywhere between $27-$63 per day, that money can help preserve and enhance water trails.

      "I think unlocking the potential of the river in terms of outdoor recreation both for the local community as well as visitors is a significant opportunity" said Sutton Bacon, CEO, Nantahala Outdoor Center.

      Sutton has worked on several similar projects in the past, and says that Columbia is an ideal place to start a paddle course.

      The program is in the beginning stages and local leaders are still reviewing possible opportunities.