Officials made the announcement Tuesday morning. (Photo: Contributed)

Two local national parks friends organizations are merging in an effort to boost support and funding for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

Below is a video of the announcement and a news release about the change.

Friends of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and Friends of Moccasin Bend announced today that they are merging to streamline operations and support for the national park.

Outside the new office on Main Street today, the two groups, along with officials and partners, unveiled the new organization brand—National Park Partners—along with its mission.

National Park Partners mission is to support the National Park Service in preserving, protecting, and interpreting the nationally significant resources associated with the Northwest Georgia/Southeast Tennessee Civil War Campaign for Chattanooga and the 12,000 years of American Indian presence on Moccasin Bend.

“Our park represents important segments of American history from Moccasin Bend’s complicated legacy of American Indian settlement and removal to the lengthy campaign for Chattanooga, a turning point in the Civil War,” said Tricia Mims, Executive Director of National Park Partners. “Through our united efforts, National Park Partners will support the National Park Service in educating the public about the significance of these resources and promoting the Park as a national treasure.”

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park contains six unique national park areas spanning North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee: Chickamauga Battlefield, Lookout Mountain Battlefield (including Point Park), Missionary Ridge, Moccasin Bend National Archeological District, Orchard Knob and Signal Point.

“The National Park Service has benefitted greatly over the years from the public and private partnerships formed with the two friends groups,” said Brad Bennett, Superintendent of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. “By joining forces into National Park Partners, the new organization creates a single point of contact as our philanthropic partner and clears up the potential for confusion within the National Park Service and the general public.”

Having a united organization will streamline the group’s operations, improving how resources are allocated and enhancing connections between the public and the park.”

“Our goal is to inspire the community to honor the past, understand its relevance to our lives today and invest in the future of this park,” said Mims. “The new National Park Partners organization is poised to better communicate our mission and to be more strategic in how we support the National Park Service in elevating the visitor experience within the park.

Unifying operations positions National Park Partners to engage the community in promoting public understanding and appreciation of the park. The new brand, unveiled today, reflects the organization’s support of the preservation, protection and interpretation of these cultural, historical and natural resources.

“The groundswell of community support that led to Moccasin Bend becoming part of our National Park system was tremendously effective,” recalls former congressman Zach Wamp, who oversaw the legislation that expanded the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park boundary to include Moccasin Bend in 2003. “We need that same community spirit to rally behind our park, that welcomes one million visitors annually and is a huge asset to our local economy. Let’s all do our part to take this to the next level.”

For more information on National Park Partners, visit www.npp-ccm.org.