Reps. Sanford Bishop, Austin Scott: POTUS Signs Bill to Create Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier today, President Donald Trump signed into law legislation that, among other things, would expand and protect Ocmulgee National Monument. The changes to the legislation will increase Ocmulgee’s recognition by changing its name to the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, expand the protected area from approximately 700 acres to 2,800 acres, and authorize a resources study to include recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and camping.
“After years of efforts to expand Ocmulgee, I was delighted to see the bipartisan legislation signed into law,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop. “Expanding it will increase the number of visitors, facilitate more learning opportunities, and bolster the economy of Middle Georgia. I am grateful for the efforts that went into crafting this legislation and bringing it to passage. Without the hard work of Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. David Perdue, and Congressman Austin Scott, this legislation would never would have crossed the finish line. I also want to especially thank the local officials and good people of middle Georgia for their outstanding efforts.”
“I am very pleased that the President has signed into law legislation to expand and designate the Ocmulgee National Monument as a national historical park. This action further protects these ancient lands and creates more opportunities for Georgians and visitors from around the world to learn more about our state’s rich history,” said Rep. Austin Scott. “This has been a truly bipartisan, bicameral, and grassroots effort. I’d like to thank the hard work of Rep. Bishop, as well as Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. David Perdue, and the countless constituents and local and state officials who worked for years to get this done. I am excited to see the economic development and community benefits that this legislation brings Middle Georgia in the years to come.”
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 original authorization 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. Currently, the Ocmulgee National Monument contains 702 acres, but is expected to increase to 2,800 acres with the signing of this legislation. It will now be named the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park.
This expansion and improvement will be a fitting tribute to the Native Americans who first came to this historic site during the Paleo-Indian period. The park also will generate tourist revenue for Macon, Georgia and the surrounding areas while educating local students and visitors about the different cultures that 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.
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."