Skip to main content
The sun rises over the Tennessee River on October 10, 2019.

All communities along the Tennessee River are invited to become part of North America’s next great regional trail system through the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, a new initiative from the Tennessee RiverLine. Communities interested in being part of the inaugural cohort should apply by August 14, 2020.

The Tennessee RiverLine is a vision for a continuous system of paddling, hiking, and biking experience along the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Paducah, Kentucky. It originated from the University of Tennesse, Knoxville, School of Landscape Architecture and now is conducted by a partnership of individuals and organizations around the River Valley.

The Tennessee RiverTowns Program is the first step to being part of the Tennessee RiverLine, which benefits communities through economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities, quality of life amenities that improve public health, and generations of river advocates that are active participants in its stewardship.

All Tennessee River communities–counties, cities, towns, and multi-community consortiums–are invited to apply to become a Tennessee RiverTown, a three-stage program that cultivates collaboration and innovation among river communities to achieve the Tennessee RiverLine vision.

The inaugural Tennessee RiverTowns cohort will be announced September 28, 2020, and communities that are unable to apply this year may do so during future annual enrollment periods. Those interested in learning more about the Tennessee RiverTowns Program may watch the introductory webinar or visit the Tennessee RiverTowns resources page.

Tennessee RiverTowns follows overwhelming interest received in summer 2019 through the Tennessee RiverLine Pilot Community Program. From 17 applications, five communities of different sizes, locations, means, and capacities were selected as Pilot Communities to share feedback and ideas on the Tennessee RiverLine vision and to begin their process of becoming part of the Tennessee RiverLine.

“Tennessee River communities are the beating heart of the Tennessee RiverLine,” says Brad Collett, director of the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership and associate professor in the UT School of Landscape Architecture. “Launching the Tennessee RiverTowns program is a historic step toward realizing the Tennessee RiverLine vision and the benefits it offers communities, residents and visitors. The program will align regional efforts with local priorities and the RiverLine’s guiding principles.”

Called North America’s next great regional trail system, the Tennessee RiverLine originated in 2016 in the School of Landscape Architecture and the Herbert College of Agriculture and through the Governor’s Chair for Energy + Urbanism. Today, it is conducted by the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership with ongoing strong financial support from UT and Tennessee Valley Authority.

The Tennessee RiverLine Partnership was founded as a diverse group of river advocates, including UT, TVA, the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program and several others, to achieve the Tennessee RiverLine vision.

To learn more about the Tennessee RiverLine, stay up-to-date with programs and initiatives by following on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram (@tnriverline) and visiting frequently.



Amanda Johnson (865-974-6401,