The Powell River Blueway Trail is a planning project undertaken by the Powell River Tourism Committee of the Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce. A Blueway Trail is a way of referring to the recreational possibilities of a river. The Powell River flows 114 miles in Tennessee, approximately 70 miles of which are in Claiborne County. In addition to be scenic and environmentally important, the Powell River is highly suitable for paddling and fishing.
However, there are relatively few places where the public can access the river and even those spots are not well known. Consequently, the Powell River is only very lightly used at this time.
The Powell River can offer recreational opportunities to local residents and can be attractive to recreational tourists, who can bring in tourism dollars to local hotels, restaurants, gas stations, tackle & bait shops, campgrounds, gift shops, and boat rental businesses.
The Powell River Blueway Trail planning project has the following goals:
1. Identify existing publicly-owned access points to the river.
2. Identify any stretches of the river that might currently lack a public access point (ideally one every 5 to 10 miles along the river) and negotiate with willing landowners
3. Identify improvements that might be needed for such access points to make them comfortable and suitable for use by the public (signage, parking, etc.), including costs.
4. Engage interested parties: local governments, interested landowners, Tennessee Valley Authority, and other state agencies and non-profit organizations.
5. Research sources of grants and other funding.
6. Create an on-line and paper map of the river and river access information
7. Create an organizational structure to help coordinate improvements and long term maintenance.
The Powell River Tourism Committee is also responsible for organizing the Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta, a 12 mile race on the river beginning at Well Being Conference Center and ending at Riverside (kayak) Rentals. In May 2015, the first Regatta hosted 49 boats. The 2017 Regatta will be held on April 29, 2017. Net proceeds from Regattas going forward will be used to help fund the Powell River Blueway Project.
More Information: Don Oakley, Chair, Powell River Tourism Committee, 423-626-9000, or don@WellBeingCC.org.