This Monday, November 10th, from 3-4 pm, The National Park Service and Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park will celebrate the opening of a new public access area within the Moccasin Bend National Archeological District on Hamm Road in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Rock/Creek is pleased to not only support, but also help promote the improved access of this wonderful landscape that represents our area’s unique natural history…and is, literally, in our city’s backyard. Moccasin Bend’s rich historic, geologic, and cultural significance cannot be understated. It is an under-utilized and, frankly, under-appreciated national landmark that no other urban area in the country has within its city limits–yet another fine feather in Chattanooga’s burgeoning outdoor recreation cap!
The unique landscape of Moccasin Bend occupies a dramatic ox-bow meander where the Tennessee River intersects the rocky escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau. When viewed from atop nearby Lookout Mountain this dramatic bend in the river looks like a“shoe”, hence, the name Moccasin Bend. This distinct landform tells the quintessential story of American history–much of which predates the written word. It provides a tangible record of nearly 12,000 years of archeological and historical evidence of the human community on this continent–from the bountiful deposits of prehistoric artifacts (the Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian Periods), to the first Euro-American contact, to the expansive Cherokee Nation life and subsequent removal, to the migrations of American settlement and the Civil War, and, finally, the twentieth century growth of metropolitan Chattanooga–all of which are recorded in the sedimentary layers of this massive bend in the mighty Tennessee River. Moccasin Bend is a popular destination for road running and cycling due to its proximity to downtown (and Rock/Creek at 2 North Shore).
A 1998 assessment by the National Park Service, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, State of Tennessee, and culturally affiliated American Indian tribes concluded that “the quality, diversity and broad accessibility of these resources cannot be matched in any other American metropolitan area.” Hence, the designation of this Chattanooga landmark as a place of national significance. Currently folded under the administration of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park within the National Park Service, there is an current plan in place to create a self-contained and improved Moccasin Bend National Park. Moccasin Bend currently offers two public hiking trails and year-round, ranger-led programs for families, teachers and students, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. With the help of Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park, there are exciting plans in place to add more hiking trails, bike paths, and other 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. This newest National Park would have significant impact on improving outdoor recreation, as well as strengthening cultural, historical, and educational tourism opportunities for the city.
During this event, two new signs will be unveiled to identify the “Future Home the Moccasin Bend Visitor Center.” Special guests at the unveiling will include Cherri Fields, Deputy Director of the National Park Service, Southeast Region, and Troy Wayne Poteete, Supreme Court Justice of the Cherokee Nation and Executive Director of the National Trail of Tears Association. Mr. Poteete will be speaking at 7pm that night as part of The Friends of Moccasin Bend 9th Annual Fall Lecture Series at UTC’s University Center Auditorium. His presentation will be entitled, The Trail of Tears: A Story of Cherokee solidarity and survival rather than victimhood.” This event is free and open to the public.
Rock/Creek encourages our outdoor-loving community to come see the potential that this beautiful area of Chattanooga has to offer and support our future Moccassin Bend National Park!