October 22, 2021 Tennessee RiverLine Announces 2022 Communities, Engages 1 Million People

The Tennessee RiverLine announced on Oct. 22 that it is welcoming five river communities as its 2022 Tennessee RiverTowns Program cohort, bringing the total number of people engaged in the program to 1 million.


Five communities have been accepted to the 2022 cohort of the Tennessee RiverTowns Program as part of the Tennessee RiverLine, North America’s next great regional trail system.

The five communities include these:

  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Jackson County, AL
  • Meigs County, TN
  • Perry County, TN
  • Spring City, TN

These communities join the 2021 cohort and together are home to more than 1 million people.

By partnering with the Tennessee RiverLine through the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, the communities will benefit from economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities, quality of life amenities, equitable access to river experiences that improve public health and stewardship of natural resources. The program is a three-stage initiative that facilitates collaboration among enrolled communities and Tennessee RiverLine staff. In the third stage, communities will earn the official designation of a Tennessee RiverTown as part of the Tennessee RiverLine.

The Tennessee RiverLine is an initiative to create a continuous system of paddling, hiking and biking experiences along the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach. With support from its principal partners, Tennessee Valley Authority and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Tennessee RiverLine engages river communities through a range of programs, events and opportunities in order to achieve this vision, including through the multi-year Tennessee RiverTowns program.

“The Tennessee RiverTowns Program so far has enrolled a total of 20 diverse river communities, home to more than 1 million people,” said Brad Collett, Tennessee RiverLine Partnership director and associate professor in UT’s Herbert College of Agriculture and College of Architecture and Design. “Last year, the inaugural cohort marked an important milestone of community buy-in for the Tennessee RiverLine, and this year, the 2022 cohort demonstrates sustained momentum, energy and progress toward realizing North America’s next great regional trail system. Our newest members represent the diversity of our region and are publicly proclaiming their shared vision to celebrate and steward the Tennessee River for generations to come.”

Criteria for selection into the program included a demonstrated understanding of the Tennessee RiverLine vision and its guiding principles, as well local partnerships necessary to sustain an applicant’s participation in the program.  Any Tennessee River community can apply for future cohorts. Communities that were unable to apply to the Tennessee RiverTowns Program this year can apply during future enrollment periods beginning in summer 2022.

The Tennessee RiverLine originated in UT’s School of Landscape Architecture, housed jointly within the College of Architecture and Design and the Herbert College of Agriculture. Today it is led by a full-time staff within the school with assistance from the  Tennessee RiverLine Partnership and ongoing strong financial support from TVA and UT Knoxville.

view of the river gorge

“Eighty-eight years ago, when TVA went to work building dams that made the Tennessee River navigable, provided flood control and created electricity, the dream of a 652-mile regional trail system would have been unthinkable, but today, that vision is coming to fruition,” said Allen Clare, Vice President, River and Resources Stewardship. “It is one that TVA is proud to support financially and with the expertise of team members who manage the river and its 11,000 miles of shoreline on a daily basis.”

The Tennessee RiverLine Partnership is a diverse group of river advocates, including UT, TVA, the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, and several other organizations and agencies, to achieve the Tennessee RiverLine vision.

For more information about the 20 communities enrolled in the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, visit