An Open Letter To Supt. Bennett

Friday, October 16, 2020

Supt. Brad Bennett, NPS, Chickamauga

Supt. Bennett, I was dismayed and saddened to learn that the historic Light's Mill Trail on the side of Lookout Mountain had been closed with a fence erected and warning signs put up, along with trees being felled across it.

This is one of the earliest narrow wagon roads across a section of the north end of Lookout Mountain leading down to Light's Mill at the present Reflection Riding. 

It follows an old Indian trail and was used as a more direct route to the mill and creek. It branched off the old Federal Road just past the present Ruby Falls and power line. The Federal Road went almost straight down at this point and came out by Sharps at the foot of the mountain, whereas the Light's Mill road continued to follow the side of the mountain at a gentle grade before coming out at the mill.

The mill site was at the crossing point of Lookout Creek for Union soldiers prior to the assault on Confederate troops at the Battle Above the Clouds.

Though not marked, this trail has long been a favorite of many hikers and runners on the side of Lookout. With its easy grade and often inspiring views, it is the most beautiful trail on the mountainside.

Please take down the unsightly fence that is by the Hardy Trail and the unfriendly warning sign. Please take up the downed trees that caused one regular user of the Light's Mill Trail to break down in tears as she watched the trees being chopped.

I would suggest erecting a small marker at the reopened and re-invigorated trail.

The historic Light's Mill Trail was one of the earliest byways on the side of Lookout Mountain, branching off the old Federal Road before leading at a gentle grade to the Light's Mill on Lookout Creek. Union soldiers marching to confront the Confederates at the Battle Above the Clouds made their crossing of Lookout Creek at Light's Mill.

Thank you for your consideration.

John Wilson, former Hamilton County historian and founder of the Lookout Mountain Land Trust.

 


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