Celebrate National Trails Day with TVA

TVA trails crisscross more than 170 miles of public land — there for you to hike or bike, no matter what your difficulty level. They’re fun to explore and great for exercise. The only downside is that trails can be enjoyed so much, it takes extra work to maintain them.

Fortunately, volunteers throughout the Tennessee Valley step up to help TVA take care of them. This year, TVA celebrates National Trails Day with Team Up for Trails, a new initiative designed to empower volunteers to take their interest in trail maintenance to an engaging new level.

TVA’s 2019 National Trails Day objective is to connect local communities to their public lands and trails by offering new growth opportunities through Team Up for Trails. The initiative provides current and potential Adopt-a-Trail volunteers the chance to participate in beginning and intermediate workshops, then put their newfound knowledge to work.

“I’m excited to get communities in our seven-state region involved,” says Suzanne Fisher with TVA Natural Resources. “I’ve been getting out and meeting retirees, members of mountain biking and trail running clubs and others. We want to know why people use trails, and what makes them want to volunteer and work.”

One motivational factor is interest, and there was no shortage of that when members of the Five Rivers Mountain Biking Club participated in the first Team Up for Trails workshop in March. Trails Specialist Valerie Naylor led the event in Morristown, Tennessee, and hosted by TVA and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. A member of the Professional Trail Builders Association, Naylor specializes in sustainable trail design, mechanized trail building and on-the-ground education.

More than Pulling Weeds

Trail maintenance isn’t just pulling weeds—it’s something of a science. In the classroom, Naylor covered topics such as the planning, design and maintenance of trails. Moving to the field, participants received an overview of tool usage and safety, as well as demonstrations related to the management of vegetation, drainage and de-berming.

After completing the class, volunteers have a good overview of trail maintenance and the steps needs to coordinate with TVA for trail work. They are more equipped to improve and preserve trail tread, as well as protect trail corridors from encroaching vegetation.

Want to join in? Fisher is currently seeking volunteers across the Valley to help adopt TVA trails and participate in trails workshops led by certified trail builders like Naylor. Find out more about how to sign up for events or adopt a trail here: https://www.tva.gov/volunteer.

“Along with increased understanding of trail maintenance, I hope participants bond with each other and with this beautiful land,” says Fisher.

Wes Soward of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club embodies this sentiment. He describes trail workdays as “the perfect opportunity to give back a few hours of time to support TVA’s efforts in providing trail access. But while the work is important, the camaraderie and community aspect of a workday is great to be a part of, as well.”

National Trails Day 2019 Events

Tellico WATeR Trail Day

Date: 5/30/2019
8:00 a.m. to 12: 00 p.m. EDT
Meet at the Coytee Trail parking lot
GPS Coordinates: 35.710270, -84.234966
Loudon, Tenn.
Contact: Space is limited, please contact Brian Ross at beross@tva.gov or (865) 632-1354
Description: TVA will team up with the Watershed Association of Tellico Reservoir (WATeR) to help perform maintenance at the Coytee Trail Bridge.

Forest City Trail Day 

Date: 6/1/2019
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT
Location: Forest City Trail located on the Watts Bar Dam Reservation.
GPS Coordinates: 35.625852, -84.777504
County: Meigs, Tenn.
Contact: Scott Ledford at (865) 632-1326
Description: Annual Trail Maintenance and Invasive Plant Removal at Forest City Trail. TVA will team up with the Watts Bar Lake Association to host their annual trail maintenance activity at Forest City Trail. The trail is located on Watts Bar Dam Reservation. Gloves and tools will be provided.

Muscle Shoals National Recreation Trail Workday

Date: 6/1/2019
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CDT
TVA Nature Trails Thunder Rd. Parking lot on the TVA Muscle Shoals Reservation.
GPS Coordinates: 34.780249, -87.655571
Lauderdale, Ala.
Contact: Pre-register with Derek South at dtsouth@tva.gov or (256) 386-3429
TVA will host a volunteer trail maintenance day along the nature trails on the Muscle Shoals Reservation. Wear long pants and work boots (gloves and water will be provided).

Raccoon Mountain Trails Day

Date: June 1
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EDT SORBA trail maintenance work day; 11:00 a.m. EDT group ride
Location: Meet at the Laurel Point parking lot
GPS Coordinates: 35.045678, -85.415416
County: Marion, Tenn.
Contact: Les Warnock at rlwarnock@tva.gov or (423) 751-7449, or Heather Sellers at hmhamilt@tva.gov or (423) 876-6736
Description: Join TVA and SORBA Chattanooga for a celebration of Raccoon Mountain. We’ll be doing light trail maintenance in the morning and participating in a group ride after lunch. Join us for one or both. For trail maintenance, bring work gloves; wear closed-toed shoes, pants and long-sleeved shirt; and bring bug spray.

River Bluff Guided Hike

Date: 6/8/2019
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EDT
TVA River Bluff Trail and Small Wild Area
GPS Coordinates: 36.220442 -84.095179
Anderson, Tenn.
Contact: Suzanne Fisher at (865) 632-6935
Join us for a guided hike along the 3.2-mile loop of the River Bluff Trail.

TVA Honeycomb Trail Volunteer Workday

Date: 6/15/2019
8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CDT
Meet at the trailhead parking lot of the Honeycomb Campground
GPS Coordinates: 34.45188, -86.33447
Marshall, Ala.
Contact: Josh Burnette jaburnette2@tva.gov or (256) 458-3298
Join TVA and SORBA Huntsville for a trail maintenance day at the TVA Honeycomb Trail. We’ll be doing light trail maintenance. Bring work gloves; wear closed-toed shoes, pants, and a long-sleeved shirt; and bring bug spray.

Trotter Bluff Bioblitz

Date: 6/15/2019
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST
Trotter Bluff Trail at Douglas Dam off Boat Launch Road in Sevier County, Tennessee
GPS Coordinates: 35.957878, -83.537164
County: Sevier, Tenn.
Contact: Todd Witcher todd@dlia.org or (865)-430-4757; pre-register at http://dlia.org/event/tva-bioblitz-douglas-dam
Description: Join us for this free, family-friendly event. It’s a fun, hands-on opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna in our area! DLiA has partnered with TVA and regional scientists to engage people in a biological inventory of TVA’s public lands through BioBlitzes. BioBlitzes incorporate field collection, specimen identification and education. They offer an opportunity to get to know the biodiversity in our backyard and help TVA to better manage natural areas through species occurrence data. Participants will survey birds, insects, plants, and other organisms using nets and provided collection and preservation equipment. Experts will be on hand to train participants and identify species. We use the smartphone application, iNaturalist, to document biodiversity and ask that you install it on your phone beforehand, if possible. (It’s a very useful app, in general!)

Remove the Dam Invasives

Date: 7/6/2019
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Meet at the Appalachian Trail shelter parking lot at Fontana Dam. 
GPS Coordinates:
35.449296, -83.796694
County: Graham, N.C.
Contact: Matt Drury at mdrury@appalachiantrail.org. Pre-registration required through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at https://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/community/events/2019/07/06/default/remove-the-dam-invasive-plants
Description: Work to protect native species in the Southern by removing non-native, invasive species like Russian olive, honeysuckle, thorny olive, and oriental bittersweet from both sides of the Fontana Dam, where the National Forests meet the National Park and the Tennessee Valley Authority land. Participants will also receive a coveted “Kill the Dam Invasive Plants” long sleeve shirt! Once the work finishes at 1, there will be lunch and a Naturalist Walk led by Matt Drury (ATC) and Matt Bushman (USFS). Come learn about all of the native species you spent the morning protecting! This event is suitable for all experience levels. Please be sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy boots. Bring plenty of water and snacks for the day, as well as sunscreen, bug spray and a rain jacket.

Fontana Village Resort is making a limited number of discounted rooms and tents sites available for the event until June 5th or they run out. When you make your reservation, tell them you’re with the Kill the Dam Invasive Plant event. Get yours before they’re gone!

This event is sponsored by REI, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, TVA, Mount Inspiration Apparel Company, Fontana Village Resort, Fontana Dam Tourism Development Authority, USFS, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club. REI will be contributing lunch and some swag for volunteers.

See More Trails!

Don't see a trail near you on this list? There are plenty of other TVA trails throughout the Valley, and you don't need a special event to get outside and hike, bike or ride them on horseback. Click here to find a nearby TVA trail.  

Sumer is here, which means it’s prime time for fun on the Tennessee Valley’s lands and waters. Not sure where to start? We have you covered! Check out some of the best recreational activities on our reservoirs. While you’re enjoying the lakes, trails, picnic areas and campgrounds, share your own stories and photos on Instagram using #TVAfun to enter our annual photo contest. You could win great fun-centric prizes!


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