Richlands, a small town in the mountains of southwest, VA, is located near the origins of the Clinch River, a 135 mile river which flows through the Great Appalachian Valley before joining the Tennessee River. The Clinch, along with the Powell River, is considered one of the only ecologically intact (undammed) headwaters of the Tennessee River system and is the home of a number of rare and endangered species.*
In 2000, the Town of Richlands received a transportation enhancement grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation to create a walking trail along an old railroad track in order to connect the Williams Field/Critterville Playground to downtown Richlands.** A portion of the trail was built, but plans to connect the trail to downtown Richlands were not completed.
CDAC worked with the Town of Richlands to develop a conceptual design that extends the existing walking trail approximately 1.67 miles to complete the connection to downtown and a historic swinging bridge. The goal is to provide increased benefits and equal access to the river for the larger community.** In addition to connecting people to the river, Richlands intends for the trail to benefit the community through improved health, broader education, additional recreation, and through its economic potential.***
In addition to the conceptual trail design, the CDAC team prepared supporting character sketches, typical trail sections, and wayfinding suggestions for the trail system.
Project team: Matt Dunn, Jennifer Jessup, and Alyssa Malobicky
Sponsor: Forest Competitive Grant, Virginia (SGFS)/Town of Richlands
*Taken from the Nature Conservancy (1/29/13) <http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/tennessee/placesweprotect/clinch-river.xml>
** Taken from the Town of Richlands Application (2/25/13)
*** Taken from email with Rod Cury (date: 1/3/2013)