News Release

National Park Service completes Special Resource Study for Ocmulgee River Corridor in Central Georgia

Date: November 16, 2023

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) today transmitted the Ocmulgee River Corridor Special Resource Study (SRS) to Congress, which evaluated the 50-mile-long river corridor and adjacent areas between Macon and Hawkinsville, Georgia, against Congressionally established criteria for possible addition to the National Park System. The study found the area nationally significant and identified several opportunities to protect and provide access to the significant resources of the corridor.

A SRS considers public input and evaluates a site for potential NPS inclusion according to four Congressionally established criteria: 1) national significance, 2) suitability, 3) feasibility, and 4) the need for NPS management. All four criteria must have positive findings at the time of the study for the SRS to positively recommend a site for potential inclusion in the National Park System. A special resource study describes the resource conditions, and stakeholder perspectives at the time of the study. It serves as one of many reference and information sources for Congress and those interested in the potential designation of an area in the National Park System.

In this case, the NPS found that the study area is nationally significant and based on the combination of resource values in the Ocmulgee River corridor, that the study area is suitable for inclusion in the national park system. However, the study area did not meet criterial for feasibility at the time of the study, primarily due to potential challenges of land acquisition in the large study area. Additionally, management by the NPS does not appear to be the most efficient or necessary strategy for conserving the river corridor. Major portions of the study area are already managed for public use and conservation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In addition, the NPS already has a substantial presence on the north end of the river corridor at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park.

The study identifies several opportunities for existing agencies, including the NPS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Georgia Department of Natural Resources to partner with each other, Tribal nations and private landowners to expand conservation and public enjoyment of the resources of the Ocmulgee River Corridor. In addition to partnership management, pursuing National Heritage Area (NHA), National Historic Landmark (NHL), National Natural Landmark (NNL) and/or Wild and Scenic River status would provide added recognition of the area’s resources.

The Ocmulgee River Corridor includes a rich human history with archeological 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 includes black bears, white-tailed deer, wood ducks, alligators, wild turkeys, and many species of waterfowl. 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 in private or public ownership.

Given the national significance of the cultural resources and the combination of resource values in the Ocmulgee River corridor, the National Park Service and Department of the Interior stand ready to work with Congress to ensure that these resources can be appropriately and best protected.

Additions to the National Park Service system are designated by acts of Congress or through presidential proclamation. An SRS serves as one reference for consideration in the potential designation of an area to be added to the system.

More information about the Ocmulgee River Corridor SRS is available at 

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Last updated: November 20, 2023