Ocmulgee Mounds Park to Become Part of Georgia’s First National Park

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Ocmulgee
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A conservation group in Georgia will finalize a deal later this week to create the state’s first national park, which will protect an expansive swath of forest, swamp, and sacred Native American tribal land next to the Ocmulgee Mounds Historical Park. Designating a national park located bordering downtown Macon is one of the Middle Georgia Conservation District activists and Oklahoma’s Muscogee (Creek) Nation goals, according to The Washington Post.

Ocmulgee
Courtesy of Marion Doss (Flickr CC0)

Muscogee Creek Nation citizens were forcibly relocated from these ancestral lands using the Indian Removal Act. In the removal treaty of 1832, tribal leaders exchanged the last of their cherished tribal homelands for those in the Indian Territory in Oklahoma.

The Ocmulgee Mounds Historical Park expansion in Bibb County, Georgia, will add 951 acres to the current park’s 701 acres for a total acreage of 1,652. The park is situated on the other side of the Ocmulgee River from downtown Macon.

Negotiations for the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve were led by Open Space Institute, a conservation organization, were finalized on Tuesday. The $5.43 million deal was funded mainly by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Ocmulgee
Courtesy of Ken Lund (Flickr CC0)

Seth Clark, Macon’s mayor pro tem, is directing the Ocmulgee National Park Initiative (ONPPI), a coalition of Middle Georgia conservation and civic leaders. The project started in 2019 to prove the park’s suitability to function as a national park.

To accomplish this, the Ocmulgee River Corridor Special Resource Study relies on scientific research, surveys, and public input to evaluate the region for ecological, historical, and cultural significance.

When combined with the Ocmulgee Mounds Historical Park, the large swaths of land that are already targeted for conservation protection, the national park could extend 60 miles through over 70,000 acres along the Ocmulgee River.

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will forward her recommendation to Congress should the area meet the criteria to become a national park. If approved by Congress, then the bill would be signed into law by President Joe Biden, making the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve a reality.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The Washington Post: Oklahoma’s Muscogee (Creek) Nation is seeking to create the first national park in Georgia; by Chris Dixon
U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service: Ocmulgee Mounds
U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management: John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act
Muscogee (Creek) Nation: MVSKOKE Reservation Protection Commission

Featured and Top Image by Dsdugan Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Image Courtesy of Marion Doss’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Ken Lund’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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