River Place on the Clinch has become the face of the Kyles Ford community, one of our region’s best kept secrets. A beautiful community located alongside the Clinch River in Hancock County, it is rich with natural beauty. But the real treasure is the people, and the Kyles Ford residents have shared a remarkable relationship with Clinch-Powell for many years.
Initially, it was our work in conservation that led us to the Kyles Ford area. The importance of the unique bio-diversity of the fresh-water mussel species in the Clinch River is often compared by conservationists to that of the Amazon River in South America. As our work in the community developed, so did our relationship with the people, and our desire to serve the community, which is located in a remote area that makes work difficult to find. Many residents travel an hour or more one way to go to jobs in neighboring cities. Clinch-Powell wanted to find a way to create jobs and bring economic development into the community without negatively impacting the natural resources or diminishing the Appalachian spirit of the community. This is how River Place on the Clinch came to be.
River Place opened its doors in 2007 and has consistently been one of the largest private employers in the county. River Place serves as a model sustainable ecotourism initiative demonstrating that you can create jobs and healthy business without hurting the environment or destroying the heritage and culture of a community. Dwight Snodgrass, a local leader in the community, says that “Clinch-Powell provides opportunity for the people who work [at River Place]. It has improved the quality of life for the employees.” He noted that the Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps program, which provides educational awards for members to assist in paying for school or certification programs, had a great impact on the number of young people perusing higher education in the community.
Clinch-Powell has done good work in Kyles Ford, but the people of Kyles Ford have been a huge support for us as well. Their support and love for River Place and our efforts on the Clinch-River make the work we do there even more special. So we celebrate the faces of Kyles Ford for the impact they have had on us in our 30 years.