For more than 60 years, hundreds of local citizens, including historians, archeologists, conservationists and election official, advocated for the protection of Moccasin Bend as an historically significant site. After all, nowhere else in our relatively young nation can 12,000 years of human history be so documented. Humans have always gravitated to places where valleys, rivers and mountains meet. And this is one reason why there are civilizations buried under Hampton Place, on the tip of Moccasin Bend, in the shadow of Lookout Mountain. After much public perseverance and input, I was honored to draft legislation…that the U.S. House approved, followed by the U.S. Senate. On February 20, 2003, the president of the United States signed the law permanently establishing the “Moccasin Bend Archeological District”– the only such district within the National Park System—as a new unit of the venerable Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
The Friends of Moccasin Bend are helping the National Park Service build outstanding visitor experiences at one of America’s newest national park areas. We are a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and interpreting Moccasin Bend National Archeological District, where evidence exists that shows 12,000 years of human history. Moccasin Bend became a unit of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, and the National Park System’s first and only National Archeological District, when it came under the management of the National Park Service in 2003.
Moccasin Bend is a national park in progress. We’ve helped the Park Service make a great start. The Bend currently offers two public hiking trails and year-round, ranger-led programs for families, teachers and students, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. Exciting plans are on the drawing board for more trails, bike paths, and outdoor amenities; an interactive interpretive center for visitors; a preservation training program for local youth; a pedestrian/bike ferry connecting the Bend with downtown Chattanooga; and much more. Explore our website to learn more about us and join the effort!
Benefit to the local economy near a national park, for every $1 allocated to the National Park Service by the U.S. government. In Chattanooga, one million annual visitors to the current Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park add $62 million to the local economy and create 959 private-sector jobs.
Number of acres of land currently under National Park Service management on Moccasin Bend
Number of years of continuous human habitation in evidence on Moccasin Bend
Estimated number of visitors to the Moccasin Bend once visitor experiences are in place
What People Are Saying
I love history, and Moccasin Bend represents the opportunity to explore 12,000 years of our past. I love my community, and Moccasin Bend represents something very exciting for us: a developing national park area that is highly accessible by local and regional school buses. The National Park Service’s interpretive rangers have already developed curriculum-based learning programs and are sharing them with teachers. And that’s only the beginning, because there are plans on the horizon for an archeological interpretive center in the park, special tours, living history events and more. Plus, Moccasin Bend is a developing national park area that is highly accessible to large numbers of underserved inner-city youth. I envision school break camps and summer camps, after-school programs, and youth work projects designed for young Chattanoogans who might not otherwise ever find themselves in a setting that can offer healing quiet and peace, and learning experiences under the wing the National Park Service: America’s most trusted agency for giving us authentic access to the land and what it has to teach.
John Edwards, IIIPublisher, Chattanooga News Chronicle
My personal passions include historic preservation, land conservation and National Parks. That’s why I have invested in major giving to the non-profit Friends of Moccasin Bend. They’ve worked long and hard to save something important. Now they’re working with the National Park Service to transform what they saved into something even more meaningful to the public. The park in progress on the Bend will be a place where people can learn, reflect, relax and recharge. As a business owner, I can easily see another benefit to having a fully developed national park next door to our downtown. A million people visit Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park each year. These visitors spend $55 million dollars while they’re here, creating almost 800 private sector jobs. That’s a pretty substantial positive impact for our community. The Park Service has done studies on how heavily used Moccasin Bend is likely to be, finding that an estimated additional 250,000 will visit the newest area of the park each year, once amenities are in place. They’ll stay an extra day in Chattanooga for their riverside national park experience, and patronize our restaurants and stores and hotels. The National Parks are good business. For every $1 allocated to them by the federal government, they return $10 to the communities that are their gateways.
Greg VitalPresident & CEO Independent Healthcare Properties, LLC
Support Our Work
The Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations and businesses to achieve our mission to enhance public enjoyment and understanding of Moccasin Bend. Your gift is an investment in Moccasin Bend’s future. Together, we can protect this national treasure and bring joy and enrichment to park visitors now and in the future.