- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

MACON, Ga. (AP) - Georgia is moving closer to having its first National Historical Park.

U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott re-introduced legislation this year that would create Georgia’s first such park at the Ocmulgee National Monument, The Telegraph of Macon reported (https://bit.ly/24t2xnG).

The bill, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act of 2015, would expand the boundaries from about 700 acres to more than 2,000 acres.

The legislation would authorize a study to expand the park farther and include additional opportunities for hunting, camping and fishing, the Macon newspaper reported.

It also would change the park’s name to Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park.

“Hopefully we’ll get it done,” Scott said at a recent meeting with local and park officials at the mounds’ museum.

Bishop said, “It’s something I think that will be a real win for our area, but more importantly it will preserve … sacred ground.”

Supporters of the measure hope the name change will draw more visitors. The park is “a too-well-kept secret,” Bishop said.

“We need to do what we can do to make sure that people all over the country know,” Bishop said.

Native Americans first came to the site during the Paleo-Indian period to hunt Ice Age mammals, the Macon newspaper reported. Different cultures have occupied the property for thousands of years. The mounds and earth lodges that the Mississippians built to serve as formal council chambers when they arrived around 900 A.D. remain intact.

If approved by Congress and the president, Ocmulgee would join Appomattox Court House, Harpers Ferry and other historic sites, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (https://on-ajc.com/1Ksllg0).

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