Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA) has been formally working on access points since 2006. Our goal is to have a safe public access about every five miles on Tennessee’s rivers, streams and lakes. TSRA started with the Harpeth River working with the Harpeth River State Park for an access at Hidden Lakes in the Harpeth State Park system. We were glad to have the Harpeth River Watershed Association join our efforts to complete a Harpeth River Blueway! As well as Harpeth River Accesses, we have built access points on the Stones River, Red River, White's Creek, and Mill Creek. We would like to expand the Mill Creek Blueway, and create other access points on J. Percy Priest Lake and Old Hickory Lake.
Our Mission: Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association's Access Program is dedicated to increasing water access points all across Tennessee. We are also dedicated to increasing the awareness and education of these water resources, as well as increasing the conservation of aquatic resources and riparian habitats.
History: Despite the wealth of rivers, creeks and lakes in Tennessee, access to them can be difficult for the paddler. In June of 2005, while discussing the issue with Mack Prichard, the State Naturalist, he suggested bringing the issue to TSRA. The board of TSRA was interested in the concept and requested we do some preliminary exploration and report back. For a number of months Mack Prichard, Patty Shultz, Ann and Marshall Spencer, brainstormed on the issues involved. They developed a mission statement and outlined a plan of action. Marshall presented the work to the board and they unanimously voted to officially create the Access Committee in March of 2006. From there the Access Committee of TSRA was off and running.
The Access Committee of TSRA has been working with the goal of getting paddling access points about every 5 miles along Tennessee's paddle-able streams. We started with the Harpeth River, partnering with the Harpeth River State Park and the Harpeth River Watershed Association to establish the Harpeth Blueway.
We gathered experience with the Harpeth Blueway and hope to eventually take lessons learned statewide. We are also working with Watershed Associations, TDOT, TWRA and local Parks’ Departments for access across the state.
Locally in Nashville TSRA has a number of places where we could use funding and cooperation to open up more access points to use the great water resources of Tennessee. The Harpeth, the Cumberland, and the Stones rivers and as well as Mill creek and Whites creek all have potential to be more user friendly to Nashville residents and visitors.
We have also been involved with The Tennessee Blueway Summit, which had representatives from Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis, as well as the National Park Service and the SE Watershed Forum.
Besides TSRA, the Access Committee has representatives from the Duck River Watershed Group, Harpeth River Watershed Association, Stones River Watersheds Associations, Whites Creek Watershed Alliance, Richland Creek Watershed Alliance, Cumberland River Compact, Meet UP Group Paddle Adventures Unlimited, Nashville WhiteWater, Stand Up Paddle Board Groups. In addition we have representatives from TWRA, TDOT, and TDEC and Metro Nashville Parks Dept.
If you are interested in joining our committee, volunteering to work at an access site project, interesting in donating funds for access or have ideas for access sites please contact Patty Shultz or TSRA.
If you know of bridge repair work being done in an area that would be good for a put in or take out please let us know, as this presents a prime opportunity to insert an access point.