For the past few years, Chickamauga city manager John Culpepper has been actively pursing the creation of a blueway – as opposed to a greenway – that would connect Walker County and surrounding areas via natural waterways. Chickamauga Creek, which runs from Mountain Cove through Chickamauga to Camp Jordon, and beyond to East Ridge, Tenn., seemed a logical choice.
On Friday, July 20, city and county community leaders and officials gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Chickamauga canoe launch. This was the first of many along the blueway. Other launch openings at strategic put-ins along the route will be announced as they are completed.
The area behind Lee and Gordon’s Mills has a natural slope and sandbar-style launching area, and was made official with a designated canoe drag trail, signs, and a unisex and handicap-accessible bathroom. The launch is free to the public, and is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to dusk.
In addition to providing easier access to scenic waterway routes, the blueway envisioned by Culpepper also has interpretive signs and markers to show where historic events occurred along the way – specifically troop crossings and skirmishes related to the Battle of Chickamauga, in which control of the creek was crucial. Some of these markers are already in place; more will be added in the near future.
“It’s a new way to experience the Battle of Chickamauga,” said Cathy Cook, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park superintendent.
Funds to build this canoe launch and others, as well as to install the interpretive signs, have been provided through the Lyndhurst Foundation out of Chattanooga.