HOHENWALD, Tenn. —Nashville’s Big Back Yard and South Central Tennessee Tourism Association (DBA Experience Tennessee) have joined forces in a handshake agreement to collectively market and promote the shared region. Executive Directors Debbie Landers, NBBY, and Ryan French, SCTTA, announced the joint collaboration, along with SCTTA board members and tourism partners from the six joint counties.

“Our two organizations are all about creating and promoting unforgettable experiences in Middle Tennessee,” said SCTTA Executive Director Ryan French. “It’s great to leverage the power of the two groups by working together. With six of SCTTA’s 13 counties part of Nashville’s Big Back Yard, it makes sense to cross-promote and maximize the impact for our partners.”

The South Central Tennessee Tourism Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging visitors and enhancing their experiences in its 13 counties in Middle Tennessee, including Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry and Wayne counties. SCTTA works with communities and government within these counties to develop and deliver effective tourism marketing strategies.  

Nashville’s Big Back Yard is a region anchored by 100 miles of the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, that connects communities with populations under 5,000 — from Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., down to The Shoals of Northwest, Ala. Tennessee counties in NBBY are Franklin, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, Perry, and Wayne, and bookended by two world-famous music cities – Nashville and Muscle Shoals. NBBY is the result of lengthy conversations during COVID-19 spearheaded by Leiper’s Fork philanthropist Aubrey Preston and led by community leaders in a region long known as a destination for musicians, artists, and other creative talent. It evolved completely via Zoom meetings. 

“When Ryan French approached me about us working together, I knew it was a winning idea,” NBBY Executive Director Debbie Landers said. “We all know the power of partnership, especially among people who are passionate about the work they do. NBBY and SCTTA have that in common. We love making a difference for our communities.”  

To kick-off the alliance, NBBY and SCTTA hosted 10 national journalists to Nashville’s Big Back Yard for a five-day immersion into the region. Travel writers from New York, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia and Tennessee visited the towns and villages to write stories encouraging travelers to come and play in Nashville’s Big Back Yard. For many of the small towns visited, this was the first time in history to welcome a large group of national journalists. 

Just in time for the summer travel season, NBBY and SCTTA will initially highlight outdoor recreation opportunities including kayaking and fishing the Buffalo, Duck and Harpeth Rivers, hiking and camping in Mousetail Landing and David Crockett State Parks, celebrating Tennessee’s viticulture at three wineries in Hampshire, TN, and biking the Natchez Trace Parkway. 

According to French and Landers, this is only the beginning of the mutually beneficial projects planned.

For more information about NBBY, go to For additional details about SCTTA, visit

Photo: SCTTA and NBBY representatives gathered at the Depot in Hohenwald to celebrate the joint community agreement. Pictured l to r:  Keeli Sheree Schuyler, Christen Chapman, Daniel Berry, Debbie Landers, Aubrey Preston, Ryan French, Colton Young-French, Rodney Simmons, Carolyn Denton, Emily Darnell, and Sandra Thompson.