Paducah, McCracken County seeking ideas for new regional trail system

PADUCAH — The vision for the Tennessee RiverLine project is big. The goal is to connect 652 miles of existing land in Tennessee and Kentucky for nature trails and outdoor activities.

The city of Paducah is officially a pilot city for the new regional trail system. River Discovery Center executive director Julie Harris worked with leaders for three years to help Paducah become a pilot city.

Pilot cities are responsible for getting  local leaders and community members together to give feedback on plans for the trail. The system includes popular nature trails like the Cumberland and Appalachian trails. They will create different tourists destinations along the route, including biking trails, outdoor pavilions and water sports.

Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless says that is part of the area’s river culture. “I believe in order to find the workforce and to bring the respect and appreciation that river industry deserves, we also have to experience the river more,” she says.

Clifford Bagwell agrees. He visits Paducah’s riverfront as much as he can with his wife. “I think if you can get some of the younger people out and actually walk on and be in some of these areas, they might participate in protecting these areas more than just talk about it,” he says.

The planning phase of the Tennessee RiverLine project does not cost taxpayers any money. In fall, the contract says everyone involved will talk about different funding sources for project design and implementation.

Before that happens, they’re putting together different workshops to get communities’ input. Those are scheduled between July 8 and Aug. 16.

The trail map has current outdoor landmarks in our area already included as official stops, such as Land between the Lakes and Kentucky Dam Village.

The Tennessee RiverLine project says more than 4.5 million people call the Tennessee River Valley home, and the trail is to be a catalyst for the cities along it.

A summary report from the community input is expected by October. They don’t a finish date for the project yet.

See the full map and all it’s current spots in the document below.