A group of Pokémon Go players raised $2,000 for Chickamauga Battlefield, where they often play the augmented reality game.
The group wanted the chance to give back after news broke of a city in Illinois asking Niantic, the parent company behind Pokémon Go, to remove an entire park from the game after complaints, area player Johnny Ewton said.
Ewton also manages local Facebook groups for Pokémon Go players in the community.
“Being a national park, the battlefield sees a lot of traffic and the goal of this fundraiser was to show them that the Pokémon Go community cares and is willing to lend a hand to ensure the area is kept clean and maintained for all,” Ewton said via email.
The Chickamauga Battlefield, which is part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, is a hot spot for Pokémon Go players in the community.
Players said that many still play in the park daily, even if it’s just a quick pass through. Sometimes on the weekends, groups of 20 to 40 people play.
“The battlefield is such an amazing place to play,” avid player David Richardson, who started the GoFundMe fundraising effort, said. “There’s not really any other place I’ve been to play that compares to the Chickamauga Battlefield. We felt like it would be the least we could do to help out the battlefield. Just something to show our appreciation and respect for this wonderful place.”
He never imagined it would reach $2,000. The original goal was $200, which they raised in a couple of hours.
“We have a great community of Pokémon Go players here in the Chattanooga area and they really showed it by making these donations to a place everyone is grateful to have,” he said.
The Pokémon Go app originally launched in July 2016 with a massive following.
People who had never heard of Pokémon before were teaming up in large groups to try and “catch them all.”
Chattanooga had many Pokémon stops around the riverfront, and local businesses capitalized on the popularity of the game.
Every month, Pokémon Go will also feature rare Pokémon’s that are only available to catch during certain hours.
During these events, hundreds of people can be found playing at the battlefield, Richardson said.
“Pokémon go has brought lots of people to the Chickamauga Battlefield that would have never likely visited it before,” he also said. “Not only are they getting to play in this amazing place but they are getting some doses of history as well. I’ve even seen people come out and play there and the next time they return they have their family’s with them just to come and learn about what all went on there.”
The check will be presented on June 16.
Savannah Bennett is a contributing writer. She currently attends UTC where she is a feature writer of the student newspaper, The University Echo. She is a double major in communications and English: creative writing. Savannah was also a participant in the Disney College Program during the fall of 2017.
Updated at 8:39 a.m. June 7 to change the photo.