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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
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Wilderness, Parks, and Timber Contracts Bills: HR 3603




STATEMENT OF KATHERINE H. STEVENSON,

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR BUSINESS SERVICES,

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS

OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES

 ON H.R. 3603,

A BILL TO RENAME OCMULGEE NATIONAL MONUMENT

November 5, 2009

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 3603, a bill to rename Ocmulgee National Monument.

The Department supports enactment of H.R. 3603 with a technical amendment discussed below.This legislation would rename Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia as Ocmulgee Mounds National Monument.This change would help improve the identification of the site and its resources.

Established in 1936, Ocmulgee National Monument preserves and interprets one of the longest periods of time of any National Park Service unit, a 12,000-year continuum from the arrival of the Paleo Indian mammoth hunters to the present day.The visible cultural resources of this 702-acre park are the mounds and other sites that date from the period of 900 to 1600.The monument has one of the largest archeological collections—with over 2.5 million items—in the National Park System.The area is held sacred by many Native American nations.

Ocmulgee National Monument receives an average of 128,000 visitors each year.They may visit the striking art deco visitor center and museum which has an orientation film and numerous exhibits. They may walk to the Earthlodge and Early Mississippian temple mounds, immerse themselves in a wetlands environment by walking on the park's new boardwalk, or take a spring or autumn ranger-led field trip to the Lamar Mounds and Village.The Ocmulgee Indian Celebration is held on the third weekend of each September.

For generations, Middle Georgians have referred to Ocmulgee National Monument simply as "the Indian mounds."Few people in the region are familiar with the monument's official name.When visitors ask cab drivers or store clerks for directions to Ocmulgee National Monument, they may get blank stares.Superintendent Jim David experiences this confusion when he addresses school groups and civic associations. The addition of the single word "mounds" to the name would not only make the name of this highly valued attraction closer to the name used locally, it would also better identify the principal resources of the site.The renaming would require only minimal costs for signage and interpretative materials.

We recommend that H.R. 3603 be amended as indicated in the proposed amendment appended to this statement.This amendment would provide a simpler, more direct way of renaming the site.It is also consistent with other legislation renaming national park units that has been enacted recently or is currently pending in Congress.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement.I would be pleased to answer any questions you or any members of the subcommittee may have.

 

Proposed amendment to H.R. 3603:

Strike all that follows after the enacting clause and insert the following:

"SECTION 1. DESIGNATION.

"The Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia, shall be known and designated as the 'Ocmulgee Mounds National Monument'.

"SEC. 2.REFERENCES.

"Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to the Ocmulgee National Monument shall be deemed to be a reference to the 'Ocmulgee Mounds National Monument'. "