Over 60 years as a public nature park


Created as a public park by John and Margaret Chambliss in the 1950’s, Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center was dedicated to the study and conservation of native plant life. Designed in the picturesque style by renowned landscape architect Thomas Kane, the park is meant to enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. It features over twelve miles of walking trails as well as a 3.4-mile loop drive intended to capture a sequence of views throughout the property. 317 acres stretch for a mile along Lookout Creek, then rise slowly through pastures and meadows up the forested western slopes of Lookout Mountain.

John and Margaret Chambliss

The Legacy of the Chambliss Family

John A. Chambliss, who married Margaret Moore Sizer in 1910, first became enamored with the land on his almost daily horseback rides down the trails of Lookout Mountain to visit Harold and Marie Humphreys in Wauhatchie.  Over time, he acquired the property and used it with his family and friends. Read the early story in his own words here on the Reflections blog. However, Chambliss saw that this special environment would better serve the public. Therefore, in September of 1956, the Charter of Reflection Riding, a general welfare corporation, was incorporated and recorded in the Hamilton County Register’s Office.  The original incorporators were: Summerfield K. Johnson, Harold M. Humphreys, Robert N. Chambliss, Margaret S. Chambliss and W. C. Cartinhour.  It was dedicated primarily to the study and conservation of native plant life.  In 1968, the organization attained status as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


For the general purpose of operating a modified arboretum, promoting the conservation of resources by demonstrating to the public the need for conserving animal life, forests, water, soil, a love of nature and its beauty,....”

Charter of the Reflection Riding Incorporation 

The Chattanooga Nature Center

Begun in the late 1970s, the Chattanooga Nature Center was established to create educational opportunities for the community, especially its school-age children, to learn from close-up observation of native wildlife.

The CNC developed practices and processes to handle animals in need of management because they have been affected by humans in such a way that they can’t survive on their own in the wild. For example: 

  • They may have suffered an injury.
  • They may have been kept illegally a pet.
  • They are part of a species survival plan such as the program for Red Wolves


In 2011, the original Reflection Riding Land Conservation Trust and the Chattanooga Nature Center began a process that created today's organization.  

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