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A road closure sign frames the older portion of the Chickamauga Battlefield visitors center in this view, Jan. 4, 2019. The center is closed due to a partial government shutdown that has idled national parks for two weeks. The road closure is unrelated. / Staff file photo by Tim Barber

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is closing to the public Friday.

The indefinite shutdown of the Civil War memorial park will include all roads, units, trails, parking areas and picnic areas.

Brad Bennett, superintendent of the park, said the closing comes in response to guidance from city, county, and state health departments to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

"Public health is our top priority," Bennett said in an announcement of the park closing. "We are taking these steps in alignment with directives from local, state, and federal officials to protect the safety of visitors, staff, and park neighbors."

Park rangers will continue patrolling park areas in order to enforce public health orders, protect the park's valuable cultural and natural resources, and respond to emergencies.

Last week, the National Park Service closed indefinitely its most visited national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to help limit visitors from coming in contact with others who might be infected with the coronavirus.

On Thursday, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke also announced he is closing all city parks and public places as part of a shelter-in-place order and the Tennessee Valley Authority announced plans to close all of its recreational facilities on Raccoon Mountain and many of its most popular recreation sites next to its dams.

More information and updates on the status of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will be made available at www.nps.gov/chch/planyourvisit/2020chchopsmod.htm.

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