Tennessee RiverLine Announces 3 New Communities Enrolled In Tennessee RiverTowns Program

  • Friday, February 23, 2024

The Tennessee RiverLine announced Lawrence County, Al.; Calloway County, Ky.; and Dayton, Tn., as the 2024 cohort of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program. Now comprised of 22 enrolled communities, the Tennessee RiverTowns Program has expanded with these new additions, each shaping their local vision for the Tennessee RiverLine.

The Tennessee RiverTowns Program encourages collaboration and innovation among participating Tennessee River communities. The voluntary three-stage program empowers communities of all sizes to establish their local vision for the Tennessee RiverLine, an initiative of the UT Extension with principal partners, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Tennessee Valley Authority, to connect paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach. The partnership between UT Extension and TVA, as manifested through the Tennessee RiverLine, not only celebrates the beauty, diversity and history of the Tennessee Valley but connects its people and communities.Tennessee RiverLine staff, alongside each community's Local Leadership Team, engage area residents and community leadership for invaluable insights and creative contributions that propel the vision forward. This collective effort is shaping North America's next great regional trail system, connecting communities based on their unique opportunities, local priorities and relationship with the Tennessee River.

Enrolled communities take part in a multi-step process for gathering community input, hosting river animation and stewardship events, building local support and interest in the Tennessee RiverLine and developing conceptual ideas for riverfront infrastructure to provide better access to the river and create new and improved experiences both on and along the river. Supported and guided by the Tennessee RiverLine staff, enrolled communities can benefit from equitable access to the river, enhanced public health, improved river stewardship and new opportunities for economic impact through the program.

“Since launching in 2021, the Tennessee RiverTowns Program has proven to be an effective and innovative model to expand and diversify river recreation, inspire resource stewardship and accelerate investments in new river spaces and experiences that will transform quality of life in enrolled communities,” said Brad Collett, Tennessee RiverLine executive director and professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “We are excited to welcome these new communities to the Tennessee RiverLine initiative, and are eager to support their journey to transform their relationship with our treasured Tennessee River.”

Criteria for selection into the program included a demonstrated understanding of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program’s goals, the Tennessee RiverLine vision and its guiding principles, as well as local partnerships necessary to sustain an applicant’s participation in the program. The addition of these communities signifies the growing interest across the Tennessee Valley to enrich quality of life through outdoor recreation.

“Stewardship of the Tennessee River is successful when communities come together collaboratively, so that collectively we empower each other to accomplish more than we could individually. We know these three new Tennessee RiverTowns Program partnerships will serve to connect even more communities and enrich outdoor recreational opportunities along the Tennessee River,” said Michael McCall, vice president of Environment & Sustainability at TVA.

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