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,
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.