Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Renews Commitment to Tennessee RiverLine

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Initial Investment Has Yielded Remarkable Results

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In a strategic alliance initiated in January 2021, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, established themselves as principal partners in the creation of the Tennessee RiverLine – North America’s next great regional trail system, spanning 1.2 million acres of interconnected river experiences – as an initiative of UT Extension. TVA has renewed its commitment, solidifying its dedication to the Tennessee RiverLine’s transformative vision. Over the past three years, the initial investment has yielded remarkable results, leaving an indelible mark on the Tennessee RiverLine and the communities along its banks.

The Tennessee RiverLine, conceptualized to unlock the economic potential and improve the quality of life along the Tennessee River through equitable access and stewardship, has become a beacon of successful regional collaboration. TVA’s renewed investment highlights how the missions of the Tennessee RiverLine, UT Extension and TVA align in fostering sustainability, community development and environmental stewardship.

“TVA’s partnership with Tennessee RiverLine is about far more than improving infrastructure,” TVA Senior Vice President of Regional Relations Dan Pratt said. “It’s about investing in our communities and our future. Together, we are continuing our journey toward shared goals that align directly with TVA’s longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.”

During the past three years, the Tennessee RiverLine launched the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, empowering eligible river communities to shape their destinies within the Tennessee RiverLine framework. This program has facilitated the development of community visions, spawning new recreational and stewardship events. Conceptual designs born from comprehensive community input have paved the way for the enhancement of riverside infrastructure and access. In addition, funding has enabled the Tennessee RiverLine to extend community impact grants to 21 partners, focusing on underserved communities.

The introduction of the “Plan Your Journey” toolkit, featuring an interactive web map detailing boat launches, public lands, campgrounds, outfitters, marinas and more, along with suggested paddling trip itineraries, has further enriched the Tennessee RiverLine experience. The community engagement and support built in and around these communities is bringing the vision for the Tennessee RiverLine to life.

TVA has committed a renewed investment of $1.5 million over three years, building upon these achievements and addressing new challenges. This funding will fuel the launch of comprehensive education programs, instilling environmental stewardship and engaging communities in the preservation of this invaluable resource. It will also continue the development of critical infrastructure projects, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Tennessee RiverLine and fostering enhanced accessibility for all.

“I am grateful for the TVA’s renewed investment in the Tennessee RiverLine, a testament to our shared commitment to transformative vision and collaborative impact. This substantial contribution will undoubtedly propel our collective missions forward,” said Ashley Stokes, dean of UT Extension. “The Tennessee RiverLine not only connects communities along the river but also actively elevates the quality of life for all, embodying the core mission of both UT Extension and TVA.”

With this renewed investment, TVA, in collaboration with UT Extension, continues to shape a legacy, ensuring that the Tennessee RiverLine remains a thriving testament to what is possible when we unite for the greater good.

The Tennessee RiverLine is an initiative of UT Extension, with principal partners UT Knoxville and Tennessee Valley Authority, and aims to create a continuous system of paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach. The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond.

 For more information about the Tennessee RiverLine, visit tnriverline.org.

Media Contact

Lila Honaker