The multi-year plan — which includes input from over 800 staff and board members, volunteers, nearby residents + community members — is focused on making the nature center a regional leader in environmental education, conservation, and land stewardship.
- The plans + changes won’t make membership costs go up, at least not anytime soon.
- The Framework calls for greater accessibility through a multi-modal path throughout the campus that would be accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, and other conveyances (plus, the possibility of electric carts).
- The Framework will take roughly a decade to be fully completed.
The framework’s 4 objectives
- Restore and steward the ecological integrity of the region’s native habitats
- Promote ecological literacy in Chattanooga’s diverse communities through hands-on experiences
- Cultivate an inclusive + accessible environment that promotes physical and mental well-being for all
- Plan for sustainable growth + anticipate change
What’s to come
- An immersive entrance to a new visitor center with views of Lookout Mountain and connections to a trail network + education and programming throughout the 300-acre site
- A focus on restorating key native plant communities throughout the site—including grasslands, endangered prairies, pine savannas, wet meadows, and more. Seeds and cuttings for these efforts will be sourced directly from the new, on-site native plant nursery + restoration will be integrated into educational programs
- An expanded nursery located next to the new visitor center offering space for education, group gathering, receptions, and sales + plant propagation.
- A new canopy walk that will raise the existing boardwalk above the projected flood levels of Lookout Creek
- A wayfinding system that transforms the existing trail network into a system of “thematic loops”
- Digital tools to allow educators + visitors to conduct crowd-sourced monitoring of the landscapes