Nature gives Chattanooga its very identity.

Join the Journey
Join the Journey
Our story
A National Park City is a shared vision and journey for a better life.

Everyone in a National Park City is able to benefit and contribute everyday. It is a large-scale and long-term vision that is achievable through many actions. Much is already happening but by working, learning, sharing and acting together, across communities and governments, we can achieve even more.

London became the first National Park City in 2019, with Adelaide joining in 2021. Dozens more cities around the world are on the journey including; Glasgow, Breda, Rotterdam, Southampton and Chattanooga – we are on course for at least 25 National Park Cities by 2025.

With the majority of the world’s population now living in urban areas, National Park Cities are an inspiring way to rethink cities, their futures and how we inhabit them. National Park Cities are about the whole place and landscape – where everyone can be involved and help make a difference to improve city life for nature and people alike.

Chattanooga's Journey

Nature gives Chattanooga its very identity. The word “Chattanooga” itself is believed to have derived from a Creek word that roughly translates to “rock rising to a point” or the Muskogean word “chato,” meaning “rock which embodies the essence of Southern United States culture, where the convergence of people, culture, and nature define our way of life.

Chattanoogans are fortunate indeed, given the relatively close proximity that every household has to our nearby mountains, rivers, and greenways nestled between the Cumberland Plateau and Appalachian Mountains. This distinctive landscape has significantly shaped the cultural traditions of our region including cuisine, music, and culture.

Yet our history is unfortunately scarred by episodes in which the rich natural gifts of this area were forcibly taken, as with the horrific displacement of Native American tribes and Black Americans throughout the 19th century, or subsequently obscured by industrial waste and pollution in the 20th century. We were, for a time in the 1960s, widely known as the dirtiest city in America. Our history holds complex truths and is a complicated, imperfect story and one that is still very much being written.

One thing remains true: over more than 12,000 years of human settlement, the city and the people that call this bend in the river home have been a living testament to the ways that nature and urban living can and must be integrated. Our city, cradled by mountains and the Tennessee River, has earned international acclaim for its abundant outdoor amenities, proximity to nature, and ecological protection measures. Our city has risen and learned from its past and embraced culture and expression through the arts to the sports fields to the native culinary cuisine seen in our neighborhoods. Even so, we have more to do to bring these assets within reach of everyone who calls this place home.

Chattanooga is a place unlike anywhere else: a city that is not merely close to nature and diverse, but whose citizens are close with nature and each other. Our identity as a National Park City will not be a new direction for Chattanooga - it will be a recognition of who we have always been and a commitment to the journey to include more faces and places along the way. As a National Park City, we are excited to commit to this work and share what we learn from it with the world.

Have a look

A glimpse

of our city

Are you ready to make Chattanooga the first American National Park City?

Sign the Charter
Sign the Charter

To become a National Park City we need 5,000 Chattanoogans to sign the Charter.