History of the Mississippi River Corridor – Tennessee, Inc.

The concept for a Mississippi River Corridor in Tennessee (MRCT), began in 2002 as a small grass roots initiative and became a project of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, who also served as the fiscal agent. Original partners included the Memphis Regional Chamber, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

The MRCT organization has since grown into a significant 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation comprised of representatives from the six counties that border the Mississippi River and Reelfoot Lake – Obion, Lake, Dyer, Lauderdale, Tipton and Shelby. Each county has a “Task Force Committee” made up of local citizens appointed by their County Mayor. These Committees are responsible for recommending, reviewing and approving all aspects of the MRCT Strategic Plan that impacts their respective county.

Much of the protection and enhancement of our intrinsic qualities along the Mississippi River Corridor and Great River Road in Tennessee, as well as the delivery of authentic visitor experiences, relies on cooperative and volunteer partnerships between many otherwise unrelated organizations and individuals. Over the past several years, the MRCT has built alliances and relationships that are unprecedented in our region. Through public participation in committee meetings and Forums,the apathy and neglect of valuable resources that was often commonplace within the Corridor has been replaced with pride and a sense of place.

Educating the public, including most particularly future visitors to the Mississippi River Corridor, about their unique natural and historic intrinsic qualities, their values to local and national society, and to the risks these regional assets face is an extremely important step in building support for enhancement and protection of those resources. Through our ongoing public meetings, symposiums and partnerships with academic institutions and civic groups, the MRCT plans to continue efforts to inspire and initiate programming for incoming visitors, community leaders, public citizens and students to foster additional appreciation for our most treasured rivers and land resources.

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