History of TCWP involvement
In the summer of 1980, TCWP founders Bill and Lee Russell contacted TVA Chairman S. David Freeman to suggest that a tract in the Whites Creek embayment of Watts Bar Reservoir be designated a Small Wild Area. It took several TVA visits to the area, an exchange of memos, meetings with Bowater Southern Paper Co. (the adjacent land owner), and numerous additional promptings by TCWP to get the designation for what was then Tract XWBR-38R changed from Public Recreation to Small Wild Area. A month later, in November 1983, TCWP signed an agreement with TVA whereby both parties will cooperate in “inspecting repairing, and maintaining” the trails in the SWA (designated Tract #238 in the 2009 Watts Bar Land Management Plan)..
The 171-acre SWA, situated on the west side of the Whites Creek Embayment, one of the least developed reaches of Watts Bar Reservoir, encompasses forest-covered ridges, verdant ravines, hollows, and secluded coves. Here and there, the trail provides views over deeply indented bays and relatively unspoiled lake shores.
Surrounding the original TVA tract was property owned by the Bowater Southern Paper Co., whose representatives had been very cooperative from the beginning in allowing parts of the trail to traverse their land along a route that makes it possible to reach prime vistas on top of high knolls. They also modified existing timber-harvest contracts so as to ensure that a wooded buffer would be left adjacent to the trail. In 2001, it became known that Bowater intended to sell most of its holdings in East Tennessee. TCWP mapped the Bowater areas that were essential to maintaining the integrity of the trail and its buffer, and mounted a fund drive in hopes of acquiring the critical land. Through the generosity of TCWP donors, it became possible to purchase the required 47.1 acres in the Fall of 2002.
The trail, consisting of a 1.7-mile loop accessed by a 0.7-mile link, is laid out to traverse highly varied terrain. Starting from a TWRA boat-ramp parking area reached via Roddy Road, the trail rounds a point of shore, goes back into a deep cove, ascends steeply to a ridgeline, turns toward a high lake view, descends into another deep, moist cove, and on and on, up and down, through different forest types and with views in different directions. Changes made to the trail access and prominent signage have succeeded in virtually eliminating the once frequent and highly damaging motorcycle use of the area, allowing the natural vegetation to flourish. Thanks to a TCWP effort of more recent years, TVA tract #237, 88 acres adjacent to the north, was designated as “Proposed addition to Whites Creek SWA,” and a trail extension may eventually be developed into that area.
We hope you can enjoy the lovely Whites Creek SWA. We welcome volunteers who will help us maintain the trail. Contact Executive Director Sandra K Goss for more information (865-583-3967, or Email Sandra ).