A group of UT students have been working on a massive project to make the entire Tennessee River more accessible.
It’s a multi-modal trail system that will stretch from Knoxville to Paducah, Kentucky.
This map above is a product of two years of hard work done by students and professors in UT’s School of Landscape Architecture.
The vision for the Tennessee River Studio class is to create a trail system that stretches 652 miles long.
“The vision is a multi-modal trail system that you could bike, hike and paddle all the way from Knoxville to Paducah,” UT School of Landscape Architecture, Sam Irwin, said
Students have worked tirelessly to create the blueprint for The Tennessee River Project.
The Idea came from one of Professor Brad Collett’s students in 2016 and now, this one small idea is coming to fruition.
“One of the things I like to challenge my students to do is think about big ideas because big ideas really get people motivated,” Professor Brad Collett said.
Professor Collett is now working to turn the vision to reality and he said the support is there.
“We are assembling a list of partners who can provide additional capacity,” Professor Collett said.
The national Park Service, TVA, Tennessee State Parks and are just three of the groups who are in full support of the trail system and Professor Collett said this group of supporters will help get the word out and encourage others to stand behind the vision.
Meanwhile, students said it can be overwhelming, but it will all be worth it when it’s finished.
“I like to know it's 652 miles, but when I’m working on a project I try to tone that down a bit and not think about the fact that you’re working on something touching 4 different states,” Duel Masters of Architecture/Masters of Landscape architecture student, Dustin Toothman, said.
The next step for the project is to name the trail and Professor Collett said later this summer, as more groups get behind the vision, we should start noticing some real concrete steps to making this vision a reality.