What is a National Battlefield Park?

A brief explanation of the federal designation


Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

A National Battlefield Park is an area protected by the federal government where a historically significant battle once took place. The National Park Service is currently responsible for protecting and maintaining these sites.

NPS also uses the terms National Military Park, National Battlefield and National Battlefield Site, though there are no major distinctions among the policies and management of the sites. The terms seem to be relatively interchangeable, though the titles with the word “park” are typically larger areas. Further, some protected battlefields fall under the category of National Monuments or National Historic Sites.

There are four National Battlefield Parks, 11 National Battlefields, nine National Military Parks and one National Battlefield Site.

The first site given the protected status was the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 1890. The site commemorates a series of battles that took place during the Civil War in 1863, which led to the Union controlling the city nicknamed “Gateway to the Deep South.”

The above image is Chattanooga taken from Lookout Mountain Battlefield, courtesy of Flickr user J. Stephen Conn.

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