Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Landscape Architecture

Major Professor

Walter Shouse

Committee Members

Joseph Prochaska, James Spencer


The provision of outdoor recreation facilities, easily accessible to our urban populations, has become a prime concern of federal, state, and local governments. A major problem encountered in the provision of such facilities, is the scarce supply of land available for outdoor recreation, in and around our urban areas. The abandoned right-of-way (railroad, canal, road, etc.), is seen as one solution to the existing land crisis. This thesis is concerned with the abandoned railroad right-of-way and its potential for trail oriented activities. The thesis utilizes the abandoned Smoky Mountain Railroad as a case study to illuminate the many problems that could arise when arranging for the reuse of such an abandoned right-of-way.

The study was developed from data obtained largely from various reports and articles on the subject matter, correspondence and interviews with various governmental agencies and individuals having knowledge of right-of-way development, and certain files of the National Park Service.

It was found that the abandoned railroad right-of-way will play an important role in alleviating the critical shortage of land devoted to outdoor recreation in and around out urban areas. However, the task of providing for the reuse of these rights-of-way, will in many cases, meet with a considerable number of obstacles. It is the conclusion of this thesis, that the state is best able to overcome these obstacles. Through the passage of trail enabling legislation, states can incorporate into their Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plans, programs to effectively utilize the full outdoor recreation potential of abandoned railroad rights-of-way.

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