History of the Water Trail
Adding to the progress made through the Beaver Creek Watershed Restoration Plan, in 2017 the Stormwater Demonstration Park at Harrell Road was completed. Work on the Water Trail began in 2014 when a group of volunteers from the Beaver Creek Kayak Club opened for floating an approximate 8-mile section of the creek from Harrell Road to the Karns Sports Park. With the completion of the Stormwater Park, Knox County assistance began with the construction of a concrete pad launch at Harrell Road and that 8-mile section became the official first section of the Knox County Water Trail. Initially, most of the work in making and keeping the first section of the Water Trail open was accomplished by the Kayak Club with some assistance from the Knox County Public Works Department. The Kayak Club quickly realized that keeping large stretches of the creek open for recreational floating was too big a job for a very small group of volunteers.
At that time, Knox County became interested in opening up the approximate 2-mile reach from Powell High School to Clinton Highway. The County began using work crews and contractors to open this stretch of the stream and it was opened in time for the first Beaver Creek Flotilla in 2018. In 2019 with funds from a TWRA grant to Legacy Parks Foundation, a launch was constructed at Powell High School and the Flotilla was in this same stretch. The Flotillas in 2020 and 2021 were held in a shortened section of the creek from Powell High School to Powell Middle School because of the massive sewer interceptor project along the creek. However, during this period little work was accomplished on the original first section of the Water Trail and it quickly became not floatable due to massive log and debris jams. The sewer interceptor project was an important project for the restoration of the creek as it would remove a large percentage of the sewer system overflows to the creek.
In 2020 the Knox County Mayor announced support for the water trail to the tune of $452,000. The goal was to increase the length of the water trail to 44 miles from Clayton Park in Halls to Melton Hill Lake. The project would help mitigate flooding issues, improve water quality and establish Beaver Creek as an ever-lasting recreational facility for generations to come. Work eventually began on the section between Clinton Road and Harrell Road and the project was assigned to the Parks and Recreation Department.
The work in the Clinton Road to Harrell Road section and a new and improved launch at the Stormwater Park was completed in the spring of 2022. The 2022 Flotilla floated from Powell High School to the Roy Arthur Stormwater Park. The work in the section between the Stormwater Park and the Sports Park and an improved launch at the Sports Park are expected to be completed by the end of the summer of 2023. Realizing that the initial county investment would not be sufficient, Knox County plans to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to complete the remainder of the project. The time frame for completion of the entire 44 miles has been scheduled for 2025-2026.