Mangement Plans to be discussed at NPS Open House Feb. 28

The National Park Service (NPS) invites everyone to an open house on February 28, 2013, from 3:30 -7:00 PM to review proposed changes in the general management plan for the Lookout Mountain Battlefield. The meeting will be at the St Elmo Fire Hall at 4501 St Elmo Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37409 with formal presentation of the plan at 4:00 and 6:00 PM. The NPS general management plan for the Lookout Mountain Battlefield can be found by opening the PDF link at this NPS website.

The primary purpose is to present to the public alternatives to consider for the management direction for 400 acres of new lands that have been added to Lookout Mountain battlefield unit of the park since 1988. One small component of the plan includes the possible conversion of specific current pedestrian trails to multi-use trails.

The Lookout Mountain Conservancy (LMC) has endorsed a plan to connect its Guild Hardy Trail via the NPS Upper Truck Trail, both currently multi-use trails, to the mountain top near Covenant College. Alternative C would allow conversion of specific trails in the Natural Resource Protection Zone of the park to multi-use if there is public support and they meet NPS standards. The LMC has proposed that about 1.8 miles of current hiking trails from the Southern end of the Upper Truck Trail to the top of the mountain also allow bicycles. The labeling of trails in this area is confusing, but the General Management Plan incorrectly shows the Ochs Gateway Trail to be converted to multi-use.

The LMC believes the preferred multi-use route is the Jackson Spring Trail which ends at Jackson Spring south of Covenant College, in addition to the Jackson Gap Trail, also known to some as the upper John Smart Trail. The illustration for Alternative C in the PDF shows the trails in this area more specifically.

This small section converted to multi-use is one of few missing links needed to ultimately connect these trails to the Chattanooga Riverwalk, providing a continuous bike path from Chickamauga Dam, or Camp Jordan in East Ridge, to the top of Lookout Mountain near Covenant College, and beyond. In addition, the Great Eastern Trail would theoretically take advantage of this extended trail corridor.

The open house is intended to offer information on the plan alternatives, not to collect public response. If you would like to support or object to any part of the plan, please let the NPS hear from you . We suggest you specifically encourage conversion of the Jackson Gap/Jackson Spring Trial to multi-use in your comments. The address is National Park Service, Tamara Delaplane / DSC-P, Denver Service Center, 12795 West Alameda Parkway, PO Box 25287, Denver CO  80255-0287. Online comments may be submitted at this site.