A fifty-river-mile national park and preserve on the Ocmulgee River?

The National Park Service is studying expanding Ocmulgee Mounds National Park down the Ocmulgee River from Macon to Hawkinsville, Georgia. This could set an interesting precedent for other potential park or other initiatives in south Georgia or north Florida.


By March 26, 2021, you can fill in the NPS Survey online. Or send them a paper letter to:

National Park Service
Denver Service Center
Attn: Ocmulgee River Corridor SRS / Charles Lawson
12795 West Alameda Parkway, Lakewood CO 80228

To learn more before you comment, the citizen group ONPPI (Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative) has a website and a facebook page.

For details, NPS has a 24-page Environmental Context Report and a 64-page Historical and Cultural Context Report. Or you can peruse the 269 pages of the JOHN D. DINGELL, JR. CONSERVATION, MANAGEMENT, AND RECREATION ACT, PUBLIC LAW 116–9—MAR. 12, 2019

If your eyes are extremely tough, you can try the NPS grey-on-black story map.

Protecting bears, birds, reptiles, forests, swamps, river, historical sites, and a sizeable section of the homeland of the Muscogee Creek Nation seems worthwhile to me, and beneficial far beyond the prospective park area.

I am aware that there is some opposition based on potential restriction of hunting in such a new park. If that’s your concern, you can send it in. But please consider the upside: conserving enough river and woods for wildlife to survive, without which there won’t be anything to hunt.

Here is the press release, by Ben West and Charles Lawson, National Park Service, 26 January 2021, National Park Service Invites Public Input into the Ocmulgee River Corridor Special Resource Study,

The National Park Service (NPS) is pleased to announce it has begun a special resource study of the Ocmulgee River Corridor to evaluate its potential for designation as a national park unit. The NPS invites the public to comment. On March 12, 2019 the President signed Public Law 116-9; the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act; directing the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the Ocmulgee River corridor between Macon and Hawkinsville, Georgia. The purpose of this special resource study is to gather public input and historic, cultural, and environmental information about the river corridor in order to evaluate the area’s potential for inclusion into the national park system.

The NPS is hosting two virtual public meetings regarding the special resource study of the Ocmulgee River Corridor, to take place Tuesday, February 16: 6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. ET and Wednesday, February 17: 1:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m. ET. Links to join the virtual meetings may be accessed via the project website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/OcmulgeeRiver.

At these virtual meetings, the NPS team will share information about the special resource study process, including the criteria used to evaluate a site for inclusion in the national park system, and answer questions from those in attendance. The meeting presentations from the NPS team will be identical, and interested parties are encouraged to attend the time most convenient.

After reviewing information available on the project website, and/or attending one of the virtual meetings, interested parties and the general public are encouraged to submit comments on the special resource study either online via the project website or by mail to the following address:

National Park Service, Denver Service Center
Attn: Ocmulgee River Corridor SRS
12795 West Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287

The National Park Service values input from the public, and comments will be accepted through March 26, 2021. Feedback from communities and stakeholders helps inform the National Park Service’s evaluation of the area’s potential for inclusion into the national park system. Additionally, gauging the level of local and general public support is an important part of the study process. The study findings — which are reported to Congress through the U.S. Secretary of the Interior — will center on the area’s national significance, suitability, feasibility and need for direct NPS management. It is anticipated that this special resource study will take place over the next two years, depending on the findings.The study area incorporates a corridor of approximately 50 river miles touching the Georgia counties of Bibb, Twiggs, Houston, Bleckley, and Pulaski. Major public land holdings in the area include Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park; the Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge; Robins Air Force Base; and the Echeconnee Creek, Oaky Woods, and Ocmulgee State Wildlife Management Areas. There are also several public river landings. Much of the property in the study area is undeveloped, whether it is in private or public ownership.The river corridor includes a rich human history, with archaeological resources dating from the Paleoindian Period through World War II. Particularly significant are extensive American Indian resources including Mississippian mound sites, and sites associated with Muscogee Creek heritage and history. The river corridor is comprised mostly of bottomland hardwood forest and swamp, with some upland forest in the terraces above the floodplain. Diverse wildlife in the area include black bears, white-tailed deer, wood ducks, alligators, wild turkeys, and many species of waterfowl.More information about the study can be found at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/OcmulgeeRiver

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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