From Our News Partner:

The Tennessee River Mapguide is a curated collection of historic places, cultural treasures, and recreational assets. Throughout the Valley, there are beautiful places to visit, local foods to taste, vistas to admire, and adventures to be explored. The test of the region is to interpret these places through the eyes of visitors and through the stories of people who call or have called the Tennessee River Valley home, and to preserve the cultural heritage found here. Cultural Heritage is not a renewable resource and is dependent on preservation techniques generally reserved for structures.

From the landscapes to music, the area is constantly evolving and changing. Rivers were dammed and people displaced, but conversely, these dams have created transportation corridors and recreational reservoirs which bring new people to the region. The story of displacement, from the Native Americans to the era of electrification to present day conservation of important public lands is a collection of many, many stories that need to be captured and shared. The launch of the Tennessee Valley Stories and Sustaining the Valley will provide a platform for sharing stories submitted by locals and visitors. “This is a unique guide for users to share the very best of the region,” says spokesperson, Julie Graham. “We are seeking to capture stories that will personalize experiences and inspire people to learn about the places that they are visiting.”

Originally launched in 2011, the Mapguide has served to educate visitors and locals about the cultural assets located in each community. It has also served as a conduit for connecting visitors with small mom and pop businesses, conservation minded groups seeking volunteers, local events, and downtowns that have an authenticity that is highly valued by Heritage tourists. Pictures tell a thousand words, but experiences make lasting impressions.

In 2017, curated visitor itineraries were launched to further assist visitors interested in experiencing the authentic Tennessee River Valley. Some of these trip plans include paddling adventures, a waterfall trail, and a guide to locations to view whooping cranes and bald eagles in their natural habitat. Anybody can nominate a trip plan to the site. “We receive many requests for backpacking trip suggestions and ideas for family friendly experiences,” says Graham. “There is a lot of interest in getting away from the crowded, better known parks and attractions. The TRV Mapguide is an online tool to not only help visitors to discover lesser known places, but to share their experiences with others.”

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