Powell River Blueway

Virginia Tech Mussel Lab Team Ready to LaunchThe 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 of which are in Claiborne County. In addition to being scenic and environmentally important, the Powell River is highly suitable for paddling and fishing.

However, there are currently few places where the public can access the river and even those spots are not well known. Consequently, the Powell River is rarely enjoyed by the public at this time.

The Powell River can offer exceptional recreational opportunities to local residents as well as 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 public access points to the river.

2.      Identify any stretches of the river that might currently lack public access – having an access location every 5 to 10 miles along the river would be ideal.

3.      Negotiate with willing landowners for an easement or right-of-way where current access may be lacking.

4.      Identify improvements that might be needed to make these access points suitable for public use (signage, parking, boat launch ramp, etc.).

5.      Engage interested parties: local government officials, interested landowners, TVA, TWRA, TDEC and other state agencies, and affected non-profit organizations.

6.      Apply for grants and other funding for improvements and maintenance.

7.      Create an on-line and paper map(s) of the river and river access information.

8.      Create an organizational structure to help coordinate improvements and long term maintenance.

Picture of the Staging Area at the Starting Line for the Powell River Regatta
Staging Area at the Starting Line for the Powell River Regatta

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 Retreat Center and ending at Riverside (kayak) Rentals. In April 2016, the second annual Regatta hosted 82 boats. The 2017 Regatta will be held on Saturday April 29th. (See 2017 Powell River Regatta Flyer.) Net proceeds from annual Regattas going forward will be used exclusively to help fund the Powell River Blueway Project.

More Information: Don Oakley, Chair, Powell River Tourism Committee, 423-626-9000