Author: Kenneth R. Olson
The Tennessee River had a long and colorful history of transporting Native Americans, settlers, armies, and cargo of all types in 1700s and 1800s. The headwaters of the Tennessee River, the largest tributary of the Ohio River, originates in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern United States. Created by the confluence of the Holston and French Broad rivers at Knoxville, the Tennessee River flows approximately 1049 km to Paducah, Kentucky where it drains into the Ohio River. This paper highlights how the landscape and geological resources of the Tennessee River and tributaries watershed contributed to the successful economic development of this historical region of North America. The Tennessee River is one of the most biologically diverse freshwater systems in the United States. Environmental challenges included an unsuccessful attempt to keep invasive species, such as the Asian carp, out of the Tennessee River and the Kentucky Lake. The 1049 river kilometer Tennessee River regional trail system with charter River Towns was designed to promote recreational tourism, increase the use of the Tennessee River and to create generations of people who care about the river and are willing to provide environmental stewardship of the watershed resources and protect the river.
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