KNOXVILLE- Jackson County is one of five Tennessee River communities that have been accepted for the 2022 cohort of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program as part of the Tennessee RiverLine, North America’s next great regional trail system.
“Jackson County is pleased and excited to become a part of the Tennessee RiverLine Vision – and to celebrate the ‘scenic beauty, rich diversity and storied history of the Tennessee River and the Tennessee River Valley,’” said Bill Nance, Jackson County Commission Chairman.
Jackson County applied to be a part of the Tennessee River Towns Program because, “being part of the RiverLine will create many opportunities for economic development and entrepreneurship, and it will give us the opportunity to share our quality of life and river experiences with visitors from other areas,” said Rick Roden, President/CEO of the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
By partnering with the Tennessee RiverLine through the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, the community will benefit from economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities, quality of life amenities, equitable access to river experiences that improve public health and stewardship of natural resources.
Through the program, Jackson County will be able to provide a continuous, multi-modal system of trail experiences along the Tennessee River through the length of our county, Langston to Bridgeport. The program is a three-stage initiative that facilitates collaboration among enrolled communities and Tennessee RiverLine staff. In the third stage, communities will earn the official designation of a Tennessee RiverTown as part of the Tennessee RiverLine.
The Tennessee River Line is an initiative to create a continuous system of paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach. With support from its principal partners, Tennessee Valley Authority and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Tennessee RiverLine engages river communities through a range of programs, events and opportunities in order to achieve this vision, including through the multi-year Tennessee RiverTowns program.
Criteria for selection into the program included a demonstrated understanding of the Tennessee RiverLine vision and its guiding principles, as well local partnerships necessary to sustain an applicant’s participation in the program. Any Tennessee River community can apply for future cohorts. Communities that were unable to apply to the Tennessee RiverTowns Program this year can apply during future enrollment periods beginning in summer 2022.
The Tennessee RiverLine originated in UT’s School of Landscape Architecture, housed jointly within the College of Architecture and Design and the Herbert College of Agriculture. Today, it is led by a full-time staff within the school with assistance from the Tennessee River Line Partnership and ongoing strong financial support from TVA and UT Knoxville.
“Eighty-eight years ago, when TVA went to work building dams that made the Tennessee River navigable, provided flood control and created electricity, the dream of a 652-mile regional trail system would have been unthinkable, but today, that vision is coming to fruition,” said Allen Clare, Vice President, River and Resources Stewardship. “It is one that TVA is proud to support financially and with the expertise of team members who manage the river and its 11,000 miles of shoreline on a daily basis.”
For more information about the 20 communities enrolled in the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, visit tnriverline.org/rivertowns.
To learn more about the Tennessee RiverLine, stay up-to-date with programs and initiatives by following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @tnriverline and visiting tnriverline.org frequently.