Melton Hill Trail

A True Power Partnership

TVA partners with UT, commits $1.2 million for new 652-mile recreational trail system.

JANUARY 26, 2021 — In 1933 when TVA went to work building dams to harness the Tennessee River, a system of recreational trails that ran the entire 652-mile length of the river would have been unthinkable. Now it’s becoming a reality thanks to the University of Tennessee’s Tennessee RiverLine project and its partnership with TVA.

RiverLine is designed to provide a continuous system of hiking, biking and on-water experiences from Knoxville, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky. The new recreation system will serve as a catalyst for economic, social and environmental benefits for the dozens of cities, towns and rural communities along the river.

As RiverLine’s principal partner, TVA will commit $1.2 million to the effort over the next three years.

“TVA has been supporting the RiverLine since soon after it was established in 2016,” said Rachel Terrell, TVA Natural Resources Public Outreach manager. “This is part of TVA’s commitment to making life better for the people of the Tennessee Valley, by boosting public health, economic investment and environmental stewardship all along the way.”

“With this announcement, we’re forming a true ‘power partnership,’” said David Bowling, vice president of TVA’s River & Resources organization. “We expect the Tennessee RiverLine to become North America’s next big regional trail system, and we’ll be working together with UT and communities along the river to help make it happen.”

Since 2016, the RiverLine has involved more than 60 UT students in trail system planning and design. The program is administrated by the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership, a diverse group that includes UT; TVA; the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program; and several other organizations and agencies.