Kennesaw Mountain
Administrative History
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Law Enforcement and Resources Management


In its early years, Kennesaw Mountain NBP did not have many law enforcement problems. Because of its relative isolation, visitation was low. Most protection activities were directed at fire detection and suppression. But as park development made the area more accessible to more people, there was a subsequent rise in the number of law enforcement incidents, primarily petty vandalism. By 1941, park management had recognized an increasing need for ranger patro1s. [109]

During the period when the CCC camp was occupied, the mere presence of the workers had acted as a deterrent, but when the camp closed in March 1942, the need for ranger patrols became even greater. Increasing numbers of people began to frequent the park after hours, many of them partying and "parking." In 1945, the park began coordinating its patrols with the county police and deputy sheriffs. Old entrances were closed off to limit entry to park lands. In 1947, the park hired another ranger and a guard. [110]

With these efforts park protection was adequate for a good number of years. But by the 1960s, the pressures of increasing visitation and the steady residential development of lands around the park, especially on the inholdings, resulted in a greater number of law enforcement incidents. Dumping of trash on park property and hunting violations became routine problems, but by 1967 the biggest problem was vandalism. Signs and outdoor interpretive displays were prime targets. In response to motor bikes on trails, foot patrols became more frequent. Heavier traffic necessitated more vehicle patrols. [111]

More serious crimes also became more frequent. On September 6, 1966, an armed robbery occurred in the parking lot on Big Kennesaw. On May 16, 1972, the visitor center was burglarized. The thieves took $355 of the Kennesaw Mountain Historical Association's funds and a safe. An alarm system was subsequently installed. [112]

By the 1970s, law enforcement activities had become a routine part of park operations. In 1973 alone, 87 violation notices were issued. Entering and remaining after hours was the most common (27), followed by parking (16), possession of controlled substances (10), and off-road travel (6). In the 1980s, the park rangers increased their cooperative efforts with the Cobb County police to patrol the park. [113]


Natural resource management at Kennesaw Mountain NBP began with the establishment of the CCC camp in 1938. Since the area was primarily rural and heavily forested, fire protection was given early attention. The camp foreman was designated the Park Fire Chief, all enrollees were given thorough training in suppression, and a lookout tower was established on Big Kennesaw Mountain, with a telephone for reporting fires (it was built within the tower containing the CAA beacon). Fire hazard reduction work consisted of cleaning out downed and dead materials. These measures were necessary because neither the state nor the county provided any kind of fire protection. [114]

This changed, however, in 1943, after the closing of the CCC camp, when the park superintendent signed a cooperative agreement with the Georgia Department of Forestry that provided for a state employee to be stationed on the mountain; the NPS continued to pay for the phone. Assistance also began to come from Cobb County in 1944 with the organization of its Forest Fire Protection Unit. In 1945, a pump was purchased and installed on a pickup truck. This, and the employment of a park ranger and guard, in 1946, proved to be of considerable value in fire prevention, detection, and suppression. [115]

The major cause of fires in the park in the 1930s and 1940s was the North Carolina and St. Louis Railroad. [116] Sparks from the coal fired locomotives often ignited the underbrush and woods along the tracks. They were so frequent that fire boxes were built nearby to contain firefighting tools. Although generally small, these fires, over a ten year period, burned more than 240 acres of park land. Park staff worked successfully with railroad officials in an effort to reduce the number of such incidents. Eventually, the introduction of diesel engines eliminated this hazard. [117]

The park has continued to maintain a fire protection program over the years but as the city of Marietta and Cobb County have become more densely populated and developed, there has been more assistance from these sources.

Another area of concern in early management of the park's natural resources was the soil and moisture conservation program. When lands were acquired for the park, most of the cultivated acres had been in row crops for many years and the soil was depleted. Sheet erosion was common and gullies were numerous. Re-establishment of ground cover was vital. In some areas, the park worked with the Soil Conservation Service to establish new terracing.

Corrective planting was implemented and a soil conservation program was initiated. Fields were disked, limed, fertilized, and seeded; pine seedlings were spread on raw roadside banks. By 1948, 118.9 acres of park land were under cultivation. Seed, phosphates, and ground agricultural limestone had been used to increase the fertility of the soil and expedite its recovery. Since the cessation of agriculture had increased the erosion, some lands were leased for farming. [118]

Wildlife management has not played a large role in resource management activities at Kennesaw Mountain NBP, primarily due to the amount of settlement around the park. In the years before the park, most of the land was actively used for agriculture; any wildlife in the area was largely restricted to the woodlands. But even with the forests, the number of farmhouses and roads tended to keep away all but the smaller wildlife. With the establishment of the park and the removal of many of those residences, wildlife did gradually increase.

There were even a couple of attempts to re-introduce certain species to the park. In 1940, the Georgia Division of Wildlife released 100 quail outside the park, many of which did subsequently move onto park lands. In 1941, there was a proposal to release quail directly into the park where they would be protected and would consequently increase in numbers. The surplus could then be trapped and transferred to other areas. But the NPS did not approve of the trapping. Instead, it was suggested that the park establish plant cover and food sources that might attract the quail, provided this could be done without interfering with the management of the park as an historic site. [119]

Since those early years, natural resource management has continued to be an area of emphasis at Kennesaw Mountain NBP. Fire prevention, removal of exotic plant species, vista clearing, trail maintenance, and erosion control have constituted the majority of the effort.


Cultural resource management concerns at Kennesaw Mountain NBP have, in many ways, been addressed through the natural resource management activities. Planting of fields, reforesting of certain areas, and clearing of historic house sites and roadbeds was intended to preserve, and in some instances, recreate to a certain extent the historic scene on the battlefield. [120] The only historic building in the park is the Kolb House. Its exterior was restored in 1963 to the appearance it had in June 1864.

The primary cultural resources of Kennesaw Mountain NBP are the entrenchments and gun emplacements that survive on the battlefield. For many years they suffered from the effects of pedestrian traffic, vegetation encroachment, and erosion. But by the 1970s and 1980s more stabilization and restoration was being done. In 1982, the earthworks on Big Kennesaw Mountain, Pigeon Hill, and Cheatham Hill were fertilized and reseeded. In 1984, further work was done on the Big Kennesaw gun emplacements including the addition of dirt and selective tree removal. [121]

Cultural resource management at Kennesaw Mountain NBP has also included the preservation of the monuments, most notably the Illinois Monument. In 1986, cultural resource specialists determined that the base must be properly crowned to allow adequate drainage. Splitting and crumbling of the floor had necessitated its replacement. In 1991, the eagle at the top, which had been damaged by a thunderstorm in 1984, was repaired and replaced. The pieces had been taken to Georgia Marble Company, which had done the original in 1914. [122]

Some of the most extensive cultural resource management done at the park has been archeological. The first archeological investigation directly associated with Kennesaw Mountain NBP was conducted in July 1939 by NPS archeologist Charles H. Fairbanks, who made a collection of prehistoric Indian artifacts from private property adjacent to the park. However, the major purpose for his visit to the park was to confer with Superintendent B. C. Yates regarding proposed test excavations to locate Confederate trenches between Dallas Road and Cheatham Hill. Those excavations were carried out by Yates and CCC laborers in August. [123] Archeological work in subsequent years was also project related. In 1975, the NPS contracted with Anne F. Rogers, of the University of Georgia, to conduct a preliminary surface survey of the park. Although limited in scope, the survey located 72 historic sites and features including the sites of seven buildings. In 1980, Cobb County archeologist Lawrence W. Meier made a survey of a proposed sewer line in the Dallas-Marietta highway right-of-way. During August 1985, Allen H. Cooper surveyed and tested the proposed route of a handicapped access trail from Gilbert Road to the 24 Gun Battery. Also in 1985, the Southeast Archeological Center surveyed and tested an area which would be impacted by the widening of Powder Springs Road. In September 1987, Georgia Department of Transportation archeologist William R. Bowen surveyed and tested a 100-835 foot wide corridor along the portion of Dallas Road within the park. Ten historic features were discovered, including three houses and a group of rifle pits that had been previously unknown. [124]

Another discovery in the park occurred in 1980 when park staff found a number of prehistoric rock mounds. It was later determined that there may be as many as 500. Although little is known about the origins of the mounds they are considered a significant cultural resource.

In the 1980s, Kennesaw Mountain NBP began to reflect the NPS' overall greater awareness of the need for a planned approach to resource management. A resource management plan was prepared for the park that identified its baseline natural and cultural resources and determined what was needed by park management to assure their preservation. For the first time cultural resource issues were specified. Among the needs cited were a plan for a complete survey of earthworks in the park, an archeological assessment of the park, especially an evaluation of the prehistoric rock mounds, and the preparation of an historic ground cover plan. Park management today is working toward these goals.

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Last Updated: 01-Sep-2001