WASHINGTON, D.C. – After years of diligent work, legislation was signed into law, among other things, will create Olcmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, Georgia’s first National Historical Park. This bill expands the current Olcmulgee National Monument from 700 acres to 2,800 acres, creating a new National Historical Park and authorizes 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 many Georgia stakeholders, 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.”
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.”