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Proposed Bills in Congress Aim to Designate Ancestral Lands of the Muscogee in Georgia as a National Park

Ancestral lands of the Muscogee in Georgia (Credits: AP News)

Georgia’s congressional delegation introduced legislation to establish the Ocmulgee Mounds Park and Preserve, aiming to protect the ancestral lands of the Muscogee tribe.

This proposed national park, situated along the Ocmulgee River in central Georgia, would encompass important cultural and historical sites, including mounds and other landmarks important to the Muscogee people. The area, which has been federally protected since 1936, is now proposed to be expanded to include more land along the river.

The Muscogee get their say in national park plan for Georgia (Credits: Georgia Public Broadcasting)

If established, the Ocmulgee Mounds Park and Preserve would become Georgia’s first national park. It is intended to be co-managed by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, marking the first instance of a removed tribe participating in the management of a national park.

The legislation has garnered support from various stakeholders, including the Muscogee Nation, Georgia lawmakers, and even conservative Republican representatives.

The proposed national park follows years of federal review and coalition building, aiming to preserve the area’s rich cultural history, natural resources, and recreational opportunities. While the National Park Service would manage the federally controlled land, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources would continue to manage the state wildlife areas nearby.

Congressional OK for an Ocmulgee Mounds national park (Credits: Georgia Recorder)

The legislation seeks to maintain hunting and fishing rights within the park and prohibits the use of eminent domain to acquire additional private land. However, it authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to acquire more property within the boundary through sales, donations, or exchanges.

The Ocmulgee Mounds, including the Earth Lodge, have historical as sites where indigenous people held council meetings for centuries before their forced removal in the 1820s.

If the legislation passes, the Ocmulgee Mounds Park and Preserve would join the ranks of America’s national parks, providing broader protections and more cultural and historical information to visitors.

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