Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park Takes Next Step Towards Realization
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) and Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) welcomed the unanimous passage of the bipartisan H.R. 482, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park Boundary Revision Act, out of the U.S. House of Representatives’ full Committee on Natural Resources. Their bill would expand the boundaries of the Ocmulgee National Monument from approximately 700 acres to over 2,800 acres; change the name from “Ocmulgee National Monument” to “Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park” in order to increase name recognition and draw additional visitors; and authorize a resources study to expand the park even further and include additional opportunities for hunting, camping, fishing, and other recreational activities.
“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,” said Congressman Sanford Bishop.
“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,” said Congressman Austin Scott. “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.”
Due to its history and archaeological importance, the future Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park deserves to be preserved as a lasting memorial to how individuals relate to the land and other natural resources. Its expansion and improvement would be a fitting tribute to the Native Americans who first came to this historical site during the Paleo-Indian period. The expanded park also will generate tourist revenue for Macon, Georgia and the surrounding areas while educating visitors on the little known fact that different cultures have occupied this land for thousands of years. The mounds and earth-lodges that the Mississippians built to serve as formal council chambers when they arrived in Macon around 900 A.D. remain intact for all to see and appreciate.
Ocmulgee National Monument was originally authorized by Congress in 1934 to protect a fraction of the lands commonly known as the 'Old Ocmulgee Fields,' upon which certain Indian mounds of great historical importance are located. The legislation envisioned a large park of approximately 2,000 acres but local citizens 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 October 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 over 500,000 Indian people throughout the United States. To view the resolution of endorsement, please click here.