On Wednesday, September 23, Macon-Bibb County and partners held a press conference to mark the demolition of two blighted structures and the conveyance of three properties to the National Park Service for the expansion of the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park. The event at 195 Fairview Avenue included speakers and the demolition of a blighted house. Mayor Robert Reichert, Commissioner Elaine Lucas, Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Acting Superintendent Giselle Mora-Bourgeois, Land Bank Authority Director Everett Verner, Blight Consultant Cass Hatcher, and Ocmulgee National Park & Preserve Initiative (ONPPI), President Brian Adams all spoke at the event. You can watch it here on our Facebook page.

Click the photo below to view a photo gallery from the press conference.

“We are growing and expanding our greenspace, all while creating a stronger connection between people and our history,” says Mayor Reichert. “We have a protected river corridor that we are connecting with trails and parks, and the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park is a link in that chain.”

“It’s incredible to see how many groups and organizations have come together to support this effort. It tells such an incredible story and reaches so many people: sportsmen, historians, birders, recreationists, conservationists, local businesses, and Native American peoples,” says Adams. “We come across someone weekly reflecting on how this protected special place has impacted someone. Ultimately this expansion preserves the history and remnants of the Native American mound builders, preserves an incredibly diverse habitat, and provides a great recreation opportunity.”

“It’s my mission to help build a legacy that all Georgians can be proud of — honoring those who used the land before us, cultivating responsible stewardship of that land today, and protecting these special places for the enjoyment of generations to come. We deeply appreciate Macon-Bibb County’s leaders in prioritizing this important and lasting project,” says Rabun.

In March of 2019, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act (HR 538 & S 135) legislation passed. This historic legislation accomplished three important elements. First, it quadrupled the size of the national park unit in Macon-Bibb by enlarging the current 700-acre boundary to nearly 3,000 acres. Second, it elevated the Congressional designation from a National Monument to a National Historical Park. Third, it authorized a federal study of 50 miles of the Ocmulgee River Corridor from Macon south to Hawkinsville to explore potential additional conservation measures, with a public comment period posting mid-November.

About the Ocmulgee National Park & Preserve Initiative

The Ocmulgee River is a special place, recognized as one of America’s most important archaeological landscapes with the opportunity of creating the first and only National Park and Preserve in Georgia. Doing so would protect nearly 50,00-80,000 acres, preserve the history and remnants of the Native American mound builders; preserve the diverse wildlife habitat; protect public hunting, fishing, and wildlife habitat; and increase name recognition and thereby national and international prominence of this Georgia treasure.

The Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative (ONPPI) is an organization formed to expand the footprint of the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park and to preserve and maintain the Ocmulgee Corridor, defined by a distinctive fusion of human history; wildlife; and the undeveloped hills, wetlands, and forested swamps surrounding the Ocmulgee River.

The dedicated leaders of ONPPI are working together to preserve this precious corridor of historical significance and biological diversity while enhancing climate resilience for local ecosystems by preserving biodiversity hotspots, which are most effective in larger contiguous landscapes.