Scenic Tennessee recently announced the launch of Tennessee Vistas (tnvistas.org), a crowd-sourced initiative to identify, map and help ensure the future of Tennessee’s most beloved and significant scenic views. Beginning with a pilot viewshed inventory in the Upper Cumberlands, individuals and organizations across the state will be encouraged to use their smartphones or computers to nominate the views they consider essential to the character, history, economy and/or quality of life in their region. The top-ranked views will become part of a “Tennessee Scenic Viewshed Register” that organizers hope will be widely used in areas from tourism and education to marketing and long-range planning.
“Tennessee is averaging a half-million new residents every ten years,” Marge Davis, president of Scenic Tennessee and a board member of Scenic America, said. “We’re lucky to have such a strong economy, but we need to make sure we don’t lose sight of the scenic qualities that draw people here in the first place. As our state continues to grow, this database can be a resource for local planning boards, developers and other land-use decision-makers. If they choose to make use of the data—for instance, to set aside land for a new park, or to reduce visual impacts when development is unavoidable—Scenic Tennessee and its partners will gladly share expertise and resources. This project gives Tennesseans a say in what our landscapes look like 20, 30, even 100 years from now.”