Olney Meadows, senior planner with the Coosa Valley Regional Development Center, is one of the plan’s organizers.
“One tour-ism corridor will begin in Dade County, cross Lookout Mountain, through McLemore’s Cove, Davis Crossroads, Glass’s Mill, Crawfish Springs (in Chickamauga) and into the battlefield,” Meadows said. “This corridor is for tourists with roots up north.
“The second tourism corridor will begin in Chattooga County at probably Alpine Church and Menlo and come up through back valleys into Trion and through LaFayette and into Chickamauga then into the battlefield,” Meadows said.
“Chickamauga is the historical gateway to the battle, and we want to reestablish this for both the tourists invited from both the North and South,” Meadows said.
“Chickamauga received a grant from the (state) Department of Community Affairs a couple of years ago to do a master streetscape plan,” Meadows said. “Part of the plan has been implemented — most is yet to be done. This plan, when implemented, will improve the attractiveness and showcase the town’s history.”
Additional plans involve transporting tourists into the park from downtown, all of which are in the planning and or concept stage, and will require adequate funding from grants, he said.
Summerville has a new railroad turntable, which will open up tourism in this area, he said.
Ideas to bring in revenue involve selling pictures of Bluebird Gap and replicas of the Chattooga Academy in Walker County. In Chickamauga the focus will be selling replica canteens with Crystal Springs water in them.
“The idea behind the canteen is that many of those who fought and died drew water in their canteen from Crystal Springs,” Meadows said.
The project will involve a regional tourism website; tour of the battlefield using headphones; tourism brochures in Tennessee and Georgia; a personal invitation sent to families of those who fought in the battle.
“We have more potential here (Chickamauga) than Gettysburg, Pa.,” Chickamauga City Manager John Culpepper said. “We have a golden opportunity.