The Clinch River is the crown of the mountain empire flowing southwestward from its origin near the town of Tazewell, the Clinch travels some 135 miles, reaching portions of Tazewell, Russell, Wise, and Scott counties on its way to the Tennessee state line. In a cast of Virginia rivers that portray history and natural wealth, the Clinch has a story and a character all its own.
Named after an otherwise forgotten explorer, the Clinch played a major role in the exploration and settlement of Southwest Virginia. Many early settlers made their homes along its eastern shore, while others crossed the formidable flow and explored the wilderness beyond its banks. Probably the most famous explorer to pace the banks of the Clinch and challenge its currents was Daniel Boone. Boone resided for some time near Castlewood, and negotiated the river during his many trips through Southwest Virginia.
The map shows various assets found along the Clinch River including: river access points, trails, preserve areas, parks, and local towns and outfitters. Southwest Virginia CSI has helped to develop many tools for explorers to experience the Clinch. Their resources include a detailed Trail List and Virtual Tours. Itineraries are also available based on educational interests from geology to hydrology.
Virtual Tours Include:
- High Elevation Secrets of the Clinch Valley
- What the Heck is a Hellbender?
- Southwest Virginia’s High Knob
Today, the river is nationally known as a biodiversity hotspot. The Clinch contains the nation’s greatest concentration of rare and imperiled freshwater animals. Supporting up to 46 species, at least 24 of which are in danger of extinction, the Clinch River is habitat to rare mussels, colorful minnows and darters, and excellent sport fish. To help students better understand local resources and wildlife, Teach the Clinch was developed. The Curriculum Guide contains over 50 lessons for K-12 classrooms. Each lesson uses the Clinch River Valley as a basis for communicating broader topics of learning. Lesson plans are free to download.
Southwest Virginia CSI have highlighted ways to stay active in protecting the valuable resource that is the Clinch River. Explore some of the local Watersheds within the Clinch River Valley that are facing conservation threats. Learn about local success stories and get in touch with regional agencies that are helping to protect environmental assets at Southwest Virginia CSI’s website.