On October 2, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law two significant pieces of legislation: the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the National Scenic Trails Act.
Earlier that year, in Tennessee, a State Scenic Rivers Act had been signed into law by Governor Buford Ellington. This legislation came about as the results of efforts by the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, a group of citizens concerned about the preservation and protection of the state's river resources.
Mack Prichard was a state naturalist who felt that Tennessee should have its own State Scenic Trails Act, patterned after the federal legislation. He decided to met with Bob Brown to pursue this idea.Mack Pritchard, a naturalist with the Tennessee State Parks system, and Bob Brown, a Nashville banker, had met through their involvement TSRA.
Bob Brown, treasurer of the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, was an avid hiker and outdoorsman who was interested in developing trails closer to his home in Nashville, so as to not have to travel to the Mountains of East Tennessee to hike.
Bob and Mack met in Bob's Nashville office to discuss the possibilities of a State Trail System. They decided to call Evan Means of Oak Ridge for his input. Evan was the writer of a weekly outdoor column for the Oak Ridger newspaper. Evan had earlier proposed a trail extending from Cumberland Gap NHP into Oak Ridge, which he had called the Cumberland Trail. Evan was excited about the idea of a state Trail System and proposed the Cumberland Trail as an ideal pilot project for a State Trail System.
A meeting was held at the Cumberland Mountain SP.
A meeting was held at Cove Lake State Park.
TTA was incorporated as a non-profit (501c3)organization in 1975. A more complete history of TTA can be found in the book, Hiking Tennessee Trails, originally written by Evan Means, one of the TTA founders, and subsequently revised by Bob Brown, another one of the TTA founders.
This book is out of print, but used copies can sometimes be found in the Virtual Bookstore.