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Chattanooga National Military Park Adds 25 Acres
By Ed Ballam

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Another 25 acres have been added to the holdings of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park thanks to the efforts of Tennessee Representative Zach Wamp and the Trust for Public Land.

The land is slightly downslope from the Cravens House where Maj. Gen. Joe Hooker led troops from three different Union armies against Confederate brigades from Frank Cheatham's division. The house is the oldest surviving structure on Lookout Mountain and was a major focal point of the Nov. 24, 1863, "Battle Above the Clouds."

"This is all important land," said John Ogden, the park's historian and spokesman. He said that several other tracts are under consideration.

Last year Wamp arranged for money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase 30 acres on the slopes of Lookout Mountain. This year's purchase was made with the same funds.

Ogden said that the funds come from royalties paid to the government for off shore oil drilling and Wamp was able to divert some of the money to the park.

There are currently 300 to 400 largely undeveloped parcels of land for sale in the approximately 5,000-acre battle site, according to Ogden who said the park only buys the land when there is a willing seller. The park is often involved in land acquisitions. Sometimes, the lots are very small and the boundaries are unclear which take effort to resolve and clear the titles to the property, he said.

The park holds about 2,600 acres, most of it is outside of what is considered the 5,000 core battlefield acres. "Our holdings look like someone spilled a plate of spaghetti on top of the mountain," Ogden said, giving describing the land mass under the park's control.

A privately held botanical garden preserve owns "a large chunk" of the core battlefield land. Ogden said the park is pleased with its stewardship of the property.

"The development is much less intense there than it could be and the land is open to the public for those who want to pay the fee," he said.

Development in the park area has been rapid in recent years; however, Ogden noted it's not as intense as in other places where historic sites are in imminent danger of development.

Nevertheless, Ogden said land acquisitions, like the ones made recently with the help of Congressman Wamp, are important to preserve the investments already made in the park which is the country's oldest national military park.
"Land acquisition for public use and preservation is always an important issue," he said.

Special Programs On Lookout Mtn. CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Visitors are invited to join a variety of interpretive programs on Lookout Mountain through Sept. 3. The visitor center is open until 5:45 p.m. Daily half-hour walking tours, common soldier talks and the James Walker Painting Program on the Battle of Lookout Mountain are offered. Park Historian Jim Ogden will give an Aug. 16 evening program about Missionary Ridge. Some living history encampments are held at Point Park. For information and a complete schedule call (423) 82107786 or visit the Lookout Mountain Visitor Center.

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