As featured in The Macon Telegraph on
February 3, 2016 12:01pm
[email protected]

The Ocmulgee National Monument is one step closer to gaining National Historic Park status.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources gave unanimous approval of a measure that would expand the boundaries of the monument to more than 2,800 acres and change the name to the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park.

Backers say the move, if approved, would boost name recognition and draw more visitors. It would also authorize a resources study to expand the park even further and include additional opportunities for hunting, camping, fishing, and other recreational activities.

The bill is called the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park Boundary Revision Act.

“Passage of our bill in the House Natural Resources Committee is an important step, bringing us closer to strengthening the current Ocmulgee National Monument; bolstering the economy and cultural life of Georgia; and realizing a lasting memorial, enduring for generations,” U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop said in a statement.

“I’m thankful to the Natural Resources Committee for recognizing the importance of the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park Boundary Revision Act and am honored to work on this issue with my colleague Congressman Sanford Bishop on behalf of the greater-Macon community,” U.S. Rep. Austin Scott added. “Ensuring that the Ocmulgee Mounds receive the National Park status and historical recognition they deserve will have a lasting positive economic and cultural impact in Middle Georgia.”

The Ocmulgee National Monument was originally authorized by Congress in 1934 to protect a fraction of the lands commonly known as the Old Ocmulgee Fields. The legislation envisioned a large park of about 2,000 acres, but residents could finance the acquisition of only 678 acres by the time it opened in 1936.

Today, the Ocmulgee National Monument contains 702 acres. The role of the Ocmulgee National Monument is to “present a story of many stages of prehistoric cultural development, emphasizing the influences of agriculture, the Mound Builder period, and the relationship of these various cultures to each other and to life today.”

On Oct. 10, 2014, the measure was endorsed by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole Nations), representing more than 500,000 Indian people throughout the United States.

Read more here: