With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War coming to the area this year, the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is busy readying the grounds, including possible renovations at Lookout Mountain Battlefield.
The National Park Service has proposed three amendments to the 1988 general management plan, which are currently viewable and open for public comment.
Representatives of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will also host an open house this Thursday, Feb. 28, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the St. Elmo Fire Hall, located at 4501 St. Elmo Ave., with a formal presentation of the proposed amendments beginning at 4 p.m.
“[These amendments] will consider the management direction for over 400 acres of new lands added to Lookout Mountain since 1988,” park superintendent Cathy Cook said in a prepared statement. “[They] will update the management zoning for the entire Lookout Mountain unit, with each zone defining a set of desired conditions, visitor experiences, and appropriate activities and facilities for that zone. Two concept alternatives have been developed that focus on the park’s primary purpose: battlefield preservation and heritage education.”
Of the three proposed amendments, Alternative A would make little change to the existing plan and designate the majority of the acquired land in the park’s Nature Zone.
Alternative B would involve removing several structures at Cravens House, as well as closing the interior of the site to the public for preservation purposes. New, permanent exhibits would be established at the Ochs Museum at Point Park, which would also see improvements to its viewsheds.
This second alternative would spruce up the Sanders Road Picnic Area; develop an interpretive site at Tyndale Hill as part of the new Lookout Valley land; and establish a formal overlook, parking area and exhibits at the Chattanooga Valley Overlook.
Alternative C builds on the changes in Alternative B with a few additional modifications. In this proposal, the interpretive site at Tyndale Hill would be joined by similar sites at Bald Hill, Geary’s Crossing and the Confederate Defense Site.
At the Chattanooga Valley Overlook, the improved visitor access would be further enhanced with a trailhead connection to Guild Trail.
In Alternative C, the Sanders Road Picnic Area would be reclassified as a Battlefield Preservation Zone.
The public can submit comments on the proposed plans through April 8.