Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park attracted nearly 1 million visitors in 2021

Civil War park brought more than $61 million in spending to area economy, study finds

America's oldest and largest national military park attracted nearly 1 million visitors in 2021, and they spent an estimated $61.2 million at Chattanooga area hotels, restaurants and other attractions while visiting the park, according to a new economic analysis of park visitation done for the National Park Service.

Last year, 945,390 visitors came to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Fort Oglethorpe and Chattanooga to learn more about the Civil War and some of its biggest battles atop Lookout Mountain and in nearby North Georgia.

Visitation and spending by park visitors last year jumped by more than 50% from the depressed level in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic brought the temporary shutdown of the entire park and longer-term limits on many park activities.

"We've resumed all of our in-person programs, and we're grateful to be back in full operation," Brad Bennett, the superintendent of the park for the past eight years, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.