Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Studying Interpretive Options for Moccasin Bend

View of Moccasin Bend from Chick/Chatt’s Point Park District atop Lookout Mountain, looking north. Finegan family archives.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (better known as Chick/Chatt) is the nation’s first park to commemorate a battle. Now, it might have a chance to better explain its Native American history as well.

Chick/Chatt is located on the south side of the Tennessee River near Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Lookout Mountain near a large U-shaped bend in the river, locally known as Moccasin Bend. The park has recently begun the planning process to determine how to best interpret its land on Moccasin Bend. The park cites the following as reasons for the area’s national significance:

* The history of the Bend stretches back more than 10,000 years;

* The area is significant to local Native American communities;

* Moccasin Bend is associated with the Trail of Tears and offers people the chance to learn about the forced removal of First Peoples from their ancestral lands, and;

* The Bend was the site of a Union encampment and earthworks during the Civil War; many of those earthworks remain.

Chick/Chatt officials are considering several options for how to interpret Moccasin Bend. One alternative would provide visitors with “A Walk through Time” at a new facility, according to the park's most recent planning newsletter. Possibilities also include constructing a visitor center designed not only to attract out-of-area tourists, but to lure locals for repeat visits.

Local leaders are said to be asking the Park Service to include space for living history demonstrations, festivals, and reenactments. The park is also considering building a pier to link the new space with the water taxi that currently runs from the Tennessee Aquarium to Coolidge Park and the North Shore’s arts district.

There also is talk of constructing a riverfront walking/biking path to link with Coolidge Park’s and the Walnut Street Bridge (the largest pedestrian bridge in the world). Other ideas include a marina/restaurant and a wildlife refuge.

It is clear that no matter how Chick/Chatt proceeds, the result will be yet another feather in Chattanooga’s hat.

For more information on the area's history, head over to the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park.


Chance, where does the "Trail of Tears" begin and end?

There's not one actual trail, but generally the Native Americans were pushed from their lands in northern Georgia, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama, through Tennessee and Arkansas, into Oklahoma.

The Trail of Tears, as Mookie said, is more of a conglomeration of trails than anything else, not like the Appalachian Trail or Oregon Trail, which have one route. There are many different routes, and land and sea/river routes as well. As a general rule of thumb, though, the Trail of Tears that is best known (the one the Cherokees were removed on), runs from Western North Carolina through to Oklahoma.

NPS is considering adding additional 'official' routes to the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail - see

For a map of the Trail of Tears, click on

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Emerson

Thanks Mookie and Chance for the information on the Trail of Tears. For some reason I was under the impression it was one major trail leading to Oklahoma.