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Well Being Retreat Center

6th Annual Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta

Saturday May 2, 2020



Logo of the Powell River Kayak & Canoe regatta held each spring in Claiborne County, Tennessee

The 6th Annual Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta is a 12-mile race on the scenic Powell River in NE Tennessee beginning at the Well Being Retreat Center and ending at Riverside Rentals. The event is a production of the Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce and the Claiborne County Tourism Commission. All net proceeds of the race will benefit the Powell River Blueway Trail Project, an effort of the Claiborne County Tourism Commission to improve public access to the Powell River for paddling and fishing. 

There will be eight race categories and a "recreational" category for those who are not all that competitive.

In past years, there have been about 90 boats participating. We expect over 100 boats this year.

Volunteer for this Event


Last year, there were 72 people who generously volunteered to help out with this event. Lots of help is needed to make the Regatta happen: cooking, parking, registration, truck transport of boats and people, helping people out of their boats at the finish line, race timing, starting line crew, etc. Volunteers are given breakfast and lunch. Camping and cabins at Well Being Retreat Center will be available, but the cabins are taken early. This is a fun time, a worthy cause, and a chance to meet a lot of great people. Contact or at 423-626-9000 if you would like to help out at the Regatta.

About the Powell River Blueway Trail Project

The Powell River Blueway Trail project is an endeavor by the Powell River Tourism Committee of the Claiborne County Tourism Commission to improve public access onto the Powell River for fishing and paddling. The Powell River winds through rural NE Tennessee for 114 miles and is one of the two major rivers feeding Norris Reservoir. (The other tributary being the Clinch River.) However, along this 114 miles, there are very few places where the public can access the river, and even fewer that are formalized with good parking and access signage. The Blueway Trail project has received a $50,000 grant from the Tennessee Dept of Economiic and Community Development and a $15,000 grant from the Tennessee Healthy Watersheds Initiative to create online mapping, install directional and information signage, create a web presence, and to promote the Powell River Regatta in 2018. One new access site was created in 2017: the Indian Creek site at River Mile 68 just upstream from Highway 25E bridge. And two new access points were created in 2018: the Highway 25E Bridge (RM 65) and Riverside Baptist Church (RM79). And a new access site at Williams Landing (Lock Lane) was created and built in 2019. The committee is currently working with other state and local agencies including TVA, Tennessee Wildlife Resources (TWRA), Tennessee Dept of Forestry, the Tennessee Dept of Transportation, and The Nature Conservancy to create and improve five other access points.

About the Powell River

The Powell River is a Class 1 (easy) paddling river originating in SW Virginia. It is one of the two largest free-flowing (un-dammed) rivers in Tennessee and "one of the most biologically diverse rivers in the US" according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Powell River (together with the Clinch River) support more Federally Endangered species of fish and freshwater mussels than any other river in the US. A few of these species are found nowhere else in the world. 

Since the river has no upstream dams, flows are entirely dependent on precipitation in the upstream watershed. In the nine years we have been at Well Being Retreat Center, we have seen flows as low as 300 cubic feet per second and as high as 30,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). In past Regattas, flows have varied from 450 cfs to 2,400 cfs. 

The Powell has a nice mix of slack water in deeper holes, swift water and the occassional ledge to navigate.

Camping Next to the Start Line

Well Being Retreat Center is a licensed campground. The extensive fairly level mowed pasture along the river is available for tent camping ($25 per tent per night) There are nice men's and women's bathrooms with showers nearby, picnic tables, outdoor grills, potable water.  Well Being Retreat Center will serve supper the night before the Regatta ($15 per person) in the main Conference Building and a full service hot breakfast the morning of the Regatta at the Powell River Pavilion - a short walk from the Start line.

A limited number of cabins (each sleeping 2 - 4 people) are also available.

The Friday night supper ($15 per person) will be spaghetti  with organic locally produced beef, green beans, garlic bread, organic green salad with celery, carrots, and cukes, and "Extreme Chocolate Cake for dessert. Served at the Conference Building. 

Saturday breakfast ($10) will be scrambled organic pastured eggs, oatmeal with nuts and raisins, bagels and cream cheese. Breakfast will be served at the Powell River Pavilion.

If you have any questions about accommodations during the Regatta orto make reservations for Friday supper and/or Saturday morning breakfast, please contact 

The Regatta has been cancelled for this year.

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