REP. SANFORD BISHOP, REP. AUSTIN SCOTT CONTINUE PUSH FOR OCMULGEE MOUNDS NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) and Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) re-introduced bipartisan legislation which will create Georgia’s first National Historical Park. The bill, HR 482, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act of 2015, would expand the boundaries from approximately 700 acres to over 2,000 acres; change the park’s 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.
“Georgia’s rich cultural and archeological heritage runs deep in the red clay of our state,” said Congressman Bishop. “There are few places on earth like Ocmulgee where artifacts from the Ice Age to the modern day can be found. Creation of Georgia’s first National Historical Park here at Ocmulgee Mounds in the Macon-Bibb area will bolster the local economy with additional tourism and help preserve the important legacy of the original inhabitants of our great state.”
“Georgia continues to have one of the richest cultural heritages of any state in the country,” said Congressman Scott. “By revising the boundaries of the Ocmulgee National Monument, we can continue to preserve our state’s history so future generations can learn about and enjoy the different cultures that have occupied our land over the years and have made us who we are today.”
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 to hunt Ice Age mammals. The expanded park also will generate much needed 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." If the bill is enacted, the monument would be expanded to protect additional cultural and natural resources in the Ocmulgee Old Fields. Property also would be acquired only from willing donors or sellers, subject to the availability of funding.
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. To view the text of the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act of 2015, please click here.