In Southwest Virginia, there runs a hidden river, surrounded by the richest and most diverse collection of life in all of North America. This is the Clinch, and it is the heart and soul of the place we call home.
From its headwaters in Tazewell to the Tennessee line, the Clinch winds its way over 100 miles to create a world of adventure and ecological wealth. The Clinch traverses meadows and mountain passes, waterfalls and river rapids, nature preserves and small towns. It is pastoral and serene, rugged and challenging. It boasts the richest diversity of fish in Virginia, the broadest array of plants and trees, and some of the rarest species on Earth; a world fed by the Clinch.
It’s Our Clinch. It’s our front porch and it’s our backyard. Near the headwaters of the river, the Crab Orchard Museum interprets the frontier life of early inhabitants of this Hidden Valley. It’s Our Main Street. The Clinch is the thread that connects our towns. From Tazewell to Richlands, Cleveland to St. Paul, the Hometowns of the Clinch celebrate the activity that the river brings through our festivals, museums, and markets that bear its name, where our small businesses, shops, and restaurants cater to the river’s guests.
The Clinch River Valley Initiative (CRVI) is a pioneering effort to build local economies in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia, focusing on the Clinch River – one of the most biodiverse river systems in North America. Working at a watershed scale with several local partners, this collaborative grassroots effort has developed significant momentum with applicability for communities in Appalachia and beyond.
Building on a vision for the Clinch River Valley, five action groups are currently developing substantial actions around five goal areas as part of the Initiative.
By 2020, the Clinch River Valley will be a global destination based on its unique biodiversity, natural beauty, cultural attractions and outdoor opportunities. This collaboration will bring measurable economic, environmental and social benefits to the region’s communities while protecting the Clinch’s globally rare species.