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Wilderness Road

Tennessee Wilderness Road CD-Rom tips for classroom use

Note: The instructor should watch the CD-ROM in its entirety before study begins.


The Tennessee Wilderness Road is an interactive experience that will capture the interest of students of all ages. Originally created as a tourism promotion, it soon became clear that the CD-ROM had much more to offer. The focus on local history, heritage and natural resources led us to believe it could also be a valuable learning tool in the classroom. The multi-media computer program is easily navigated by the novice as well as the experienced computer user. Watch the Wilderness Road in the classroom or give students time to watch before study begins. The entire CD-ROM can be viewed at once or it can be viewed a section at a time. The following suggestions and ideas for using the CD-ROM in the classroom barely begin to scratch the surface of possibilities. Use our suggestions as a starting place as you incorporate this valuable tool into your classroom studies.


The student will learn the location of the Wilderness Road and about the history, people, landscape, natural resources, parks, towns, festivals and recreation along the road.

Section 1 - The Wilderness Road

This section contains three separate section the visitor explore: 1) An interactive map, 2) Wilderness Road history, and 3) County by county information


County By County Map: Student will look at map county by county, draw the map and name the counties in the Wilderness Road area. Student will name own county and learn the names of the cities, population, industry, distance from Knoxville, Interstate access, average annual temperature and points of interest. Student will do this with one other county in which he/she is interested. This activity might be done using a chart; making a poster and using picture or making a booklet on the two counties. The student might do comparison graphs with the two counties; number of cities, population, amount of industry, average temperature, etc.

Interactive Map: Students should explore sites along the road and conduct similar activities as above.

Possible questions to ask

  1. Just what is the Wilderness Road
  2. Where does the road begin and end in Tennessee?
  3. What is the most northern, southern, eastern, western point?

  1. Student will follow the path of the Wilderness Road on interactive map with finger.
  2. Student should be encouraged to visit the "other" county they choose with their family.
  3. Student might be interested in finding a pen pal in the county he/she chooses; correspond with this person and share information about their families and communities. (Write letters; E-mail)

Section II - History and heritage

There are many facets of history and heritage along the Wilderness Road. Students will learn many facts in this section. Idea: Student will research, write a paper and/or do a project on a topic of his/her choice after viewing all topics.


When was it discovered? How has it changed? What was their value system like? Student will write a paper comparing the values of people then/now.

Civil war history

What roll did the Wilderness Road play in the Civil War? Student will research information on Civil War history along the Tennessee Wilderness Road.

Heritage Festivals

Name festivals in the area. Report on festivals attended. Compare current festivals to old time barn raisings and quilting bees. Student will make a chart naming festivals, dates (if given) and location.

Historic sites

One of the most authentic ways to study genealogy is going to a cemetery. The epitaphs on tombstones give factual information about the person. Idea: The class will take a field trip to a cemetery and collect information: names of people, birth and death date and epitaph, if any. An older, historical cemetery would be best. Will retrace paths of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.


Take virtual tours; select one to visit with family or as a class field trip. Idea: Lincoln Museum in Harrogate. A day trip might be the museum then visit Cumberland Gap and see a part of the Wilderness Road. Picnic here or travel on to Cumberland Gap National Park for picnic and short hike (there is also a museum at the visitors center).


Watch movie on CD. Research and read books on Melungeons. As research and reading is done be able explain why they are referred to as a "jigsaw puzzle."

Historic Markers

List markers given and tell where they are located and why they are important. Draw a map (may use interactive map) and pinpoint each marker.


Watch and listen to stories told by Doc McConnell. Talk to parents, grandparents, older people in community. Ask them to tell you stories from their past or stories that have been: handed down" in their families from generation to generation.


Daron Douglas - Singer, storyteller, musician: Plays fiddle, dulcimer, guitar, etc. Lived in Grainger County when CD was made. Performed with a group called the Hominy Mamas. Performs stories and songs handed down in her family from her great-great grandmother. Suggestion: Bring in recorded music for listening and appreciation time by artists from the area; Roy Acuff, Kenny Chesney, Carter Family, Grandpa Jones and Chet Atkins. Students may perform or have family members who do ask them to come to talk about their background in music and to perform for the class.


Ann and McDonald Crosby live on Clinch Mountain in Grainger County. A field trip to Joppa Mountain Pottery would be fun and educational. The students would be able to watch tem work and see the kiln. (Call ahead for appointment). Jeri Ryel who does German papercut lives at the foot of Clinch Mountain. A trip here in connection with the visit to Joppa Mountain Pottery would be fantastic. They're only a mile or two apart.

Section III - Journeys section


There are many things to see in the Wilderness Road area: Fall foliage, spring wildflowers, float trips, Civil War sites, hiking trails, history, natural features. Follow (with finger) and locate these on map. Suggestion: Choose a favorite and make a booklet on it, tell where it's located, why you like it and what time of year would be best to see it. Use photographs, draw and/or cut out pictures to illustrate the area and write information about what you might see. Visit a local festival in the area and do same activities.

Section IV - Parks and recreation section

Parks and recreation

A lot of the area along the Tennessee Wilderness Road is a wonderful "playground".


Cherokee Lake, Norris Lake, Clinch and Powell Rivers, Nolichucky River, Watauga Lake


Wilderness Road Campgrounds. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Big Ridge State Park Warriors Path State Park, Roan Mountain State Park, TVA Campgrounds, Cherokee National Forest and Privately owned campgrounds.


Rivers: Clinch and Powell, South Fork, Holston, Nolichucky and Watauga.


Above mentioned parks. Research and write about the Appalachian Trail


Research different kinds of habitat and where you find different game species. Do a creative writing exercise or tall tale about a family member's favorite hunting story.


Make a chart or graph naming lakes and rivers, where they are located, the kinds of fish, regulations and best time to fish. May write TVA for more information. Choose your favorite recreation and write a paper telling why you like it, where you go, etc.

Section V - Photo Gallery

Virtual Tours of the Homestead Museum at Bays Mountain in Kingsport, Abraham Lincoln Museum in Harrogate, Historic Rogersville, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Old Log School in Maynardville and Historic Sneedville. Suggestion: Visit at least one of these with the class. Encourage students to visit with their families.

Section VI - Festivals

Festivals: Listed by months of the year. Suggestion: Divide students into groups. Assign one month to each group. They will work together to name festival, where it is located, tell why they would or would not like to attend. Write, illustrate or bring in pictures to "show and tell." They might bring in examples of crafts purchased at festivals; make a classroom display of items and label them with name of festival and where it is located.

Section VII - Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Suggestions: Use with science/biology lessons on biodiversity. Watch film on CD. Name rare species given. Give reasons biodiversity of the Clinch and Powell rivers is so important. Tell why they are referred to as "living museums." Give reasons animals in these rivers have become endangered or threatened. Research how the Appalachian Mountains were formed.


Suggestions: Watch CD. Tell about early settlers, their travels, where they settled and what they did. Describe the faming practices in the area. Name several crops grown in the area. If any student lives on a farm let them tell about their farm, what they do, what they grow, etc. Invite a farmer to speak to the class. Compare early faming techniques with those of today. Visit a farm.


Suggestion: Tell why Tennessee has such a diverse forest ecosystem. Name the number and kinds of trees species. Tell how wood is used from the area. Write a paper, after research, telling about forest fires. How do you prevent them and what should you do in case you are around one. Research and discuss different harvesting techniques like clear cutting, selective cuts, etc. Have a forester visit the class. Take a field trip to learn more about the forest.

Occupations you might find along the wilderness road tour

Farmer, biologist, historian, forest ranger, river guide, writer, museum curator, storyteller, musician, artist, trail maintenance supervisor, photographer, wildlife officer, park ranger.


History and heritage section

  • Culture - The sum total of ways of living built by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.
  • Degeneracy - Degenerate state or character; decline
  • Degradation - The act of degrading
  • Distress - Acute anxiety, pain or sorrow
  • Individualism - The habit of independent thought or action
  • Isolation - The state of being in a protected situation
  • Norm - A rule or standard of behavior expected to be followed by each member of a social group
  • Patriotism - Devoted love, support and defense of one's country, national loyalty
  • Perception - Insight, understanding
  • Reliance - Confident or trustful dependence.
  • Solidarity - Agreement of purpose among members of a group or class

    Civil war history

  • Adversary - A person or group that opposes or attacks; opponent; enemy
  • Civil War - 1. A war between political factions or regions (states, countries in the same country) 2. The war in the United States between the north and south (the War Between the States)
  • Heroism - The qualities of a hero; brave deeds, noble qualities; heroic conduct, courageous actions
  • Legend - A story handed down from one generation to the next; parts of the story may be true; parts may be exaggerated; a collection of stories about an admirable person (like Johnny Appleseed)

    Historic Sites

  • Authentic - Not false or copied; real; genuine
  • Envision - To picture mentally, especially some future event or events
  • Epitaph - An inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument about the person buried at that site
  • Genealogy - A record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person, family, group, etc.
  • Unique - 1. Existing as the only one or as the sole example; single in type of characteristics 2. Having no like or equal.

    Music Section

  • Dulcimer - A folk instrument with metal strings that are plucked or strummed with the fingers.

    Arts Section

  • Ceramics - Of or pertaining to products (bowls, vases, pitchers, etc.) made from clay and similar materials as pottery and brick.
  • Kiln - A furnace or oven for burning, baling, or drying something, especially one for firing pottery or baking bricks.
  • Culture - The sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another; behaviors and beliefs.
  • Diverge - 1. To move, lie, or extend in different directions from a common point; branch off 2. To differ in opinion, character or form.
  • otiate - To deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract
  • Trespass - Wrongful entry upon land of another
  • Wilderness - A wild, uncultivated region, as a forest or desert. Wilderness area: a region whose natural growth is protected by legislation and whose use is restricted.

    Biodiversity Section

  • Aquatic - Giving or growing in water
  • Biodiversity - Many different biological species living together in an ecosystem.
  • Diversity - The state of being of a different kind, form, character
  • Ecosystem - A system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with its environment.
  • Endangered Species - A species at risk of extinction because of human activity. Changes in climate, changes in
  • predator/prey ratios, when officially designated by a governmental or international agency
  • Endemic - Natural to a particular place, people, etc.
  • Habitat - The natural environment of an organism; place that is natural for the life and growth of an organism (ex: a jungle habitat)
  • Renowned - Widespread, famous, celebrated
  • Threatened Species - A species likely, in the near future, to become an endangered species
  • Watershed - 1. The region or area drained by a river or stream 2. The ridge or crestline dividing two drainage areas.

    Agriculture Section

  • Cornerstone - A stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection; it represents the starting place and is usually carved with the date.
  • Corporate - United or combined into one
  • Fertile - Bearing, producing, or capable of producing vegetation, crops, etc.
  • Homestead - A dwelling with its land and buildings occupied by the owner as a home and exempted by a homestead law from seizure of sale for debt; to acquire or settle land as a homestead.

    Forestry Section

  • Opulent - Wealthy, rich, affluent; richly supplied