382 Acres Added to Chickamauga/Chattanooga NMP (TN)

Chattanooga, Tennessee, 4/21/2008: U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp (R-3) joined the National Park Service (NPS), The Trust for Public Land (TPL), and other project supporters at Point Park on Lookout Mountain today, to celebrate the recent conservation of 382 acres of Lookout Mountain battlefield lands as part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

This latest addition to Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, acquired from the CSX Railroad Company, is located in Lookout Valley west of Lookout Mountain.

The event included a brief speaking program and an educational tour by park historian Jim Ogden. A civil war rifle firing demonstration was also included.

Federal funding for the property was secured from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through the efforts of the Tennessee congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

At the event, Sen. Alexander said, “Growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, I’ve appreciated the beauty of our Great American Outdoors my entire life. Visiting historic sites like these battlefields is a great way for our children to experience our American heritage firsthand. I’m glad to work with Congressman Wamp and the rest of the Tennessee delegation to ensure that places like these are preserved for generations to come.”

“Tennessee is rich in cultural sites and we need to preserve these valuable resources. The Wauhatchie Valley played a role in Battle of Chattanooga, which is considered a critical turning point in the eventual outcome of the Civil War,” said Congressman Wamp. “This land acquisition provides important protection and preservation for this historic land, and I was pleased to work with Senator Alexander and the Tennessee delegation to make this possible.”

Senator Corker, who was unable to attend the event, said “History and natural beauty are just two of the many reasons so many people choose to visit Chattanooga and call it home. As mayor of Chattanooga, I enjoyed partnering with The Trust for Public Land to help conserve and preserve Chattanooga’s natural assets, and I appreciate Senator Alexander and Congressman Wamp working to help us add 382 acres of Lookout Mountain battlefield to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park,” Sen. Corker said. “We are all tremendously proud of Tennessee’s many outdoor resources and will continue working together to secure them for future generations to enjoy.”

TPL, a national non-profit land conservation organization, worked with CSX Railroad Company to purchase 382 acres along Lookout Creek, identified as historically significant by the National Park Service. TPL transferred the first 86 acres to the park in November 2006. The remaining 296 acres were conveyed to the park in two phases in November 2007 and March 31, 2008.

“We are delighted to have played a part in knitting these historic lands back together to be protected as part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park,” said Rick Wood, field office director for The Trust for Public Land in Chattanooga. “TPL thanks Senator Alexander and Congressman Wamp for taking time out of their busy schedule to join us today to celebrate this great success.”

On the morning of November 24, 1863, Union General Joseph Hooker ordered troops to advance eastward from Wauhatchie, cross Lookout Creek, and climb Lookout Mountain to sweep north and drive the Confederates from the mountain. The attacking troops moved across the property recently added to the park, crossed the creek at two primary points, and climbed Lookout’sslopes to begin the assault. After fighting for much of the day, the Confederates were forced to abandon Lookout Mountain, helping to set the stage for the climactic Union attack on Missionary Ridge a day later which drove the Confederates into Georgia and secured Chattanooga for the Union for the remainder of the war.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, created in 1890 and located in both Georgia and Tennessee, was the first national military park in the nation.

Shawn Benge, Superintendent of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park said, “Preserving our battlefields, especially those located in rapidly developing areas, is essential to maintaining these links to critical moments in this country’s history. Battlefields are tangible monuments to events that defined us as a nation. These battlefields are not renewable resources. Once a site is destroyed, it is lost forever. We are most grateful to our Congressional delegation and The Trust for Public Land for the pivotal roles they played in adding this historic property toChickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.”

The property fronts Lookout Creek for more than two miles, and public access across the creek from the east will be available via the Lower Truck Trail, a hiking, horse, and bike trail. The addition of this historic property to the park will provide enhanced opportunities to inform the public of the site’s Civil War significance, while preserving the land in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations.

About the National Park Service: The National Park Service cares for nearly 400 parks that represent our nation’s most precious natural and cultural heritage, providing invaluable opportunities for recreation, appreciation of beauty, historical reflection, cultural enrichment, and environmental education. For more information, see www.nps.gov.

About The Trust for Public Land: TPL, a national private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1972, protects land for people to enjoy as parks, historic sites, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Across the nation, TPL has saved more than 2.2 million acres of land. Through its Heritage Lands Program (one of TPL’s five major initiatives), TPL is actively working to protect at-risk Civil War landmarks-especially in the Southeast. Over the last several years, TPL helped expand Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, transferring over 850 acres to the National Park Service.