Policy Update Jul 15, 2015

Position on H.R. 482 and H.R. 959

NPCA submitted the following positions on legislation considered during the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing on June 16, 2015.

H.R. 482: Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act of 2015 – NPCA supports this legislation that would expand the park boundary from approximately 700 acres to over 2,000 acres, change the name to ‘Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park,’ and authorize a resource study to determine if the park should be expanded further to consolidate existing public lands, protect hunting and fishing, and provide additional opportunities for education, recreation, and public enjoyment. The Ocmulgee National Monument was authorized by Congress in 1934 to protect a unique Native American cultural landscape, known as the “Old Fields” and consisting of earth mounds and extensive prehistoric archaeology. Excavations in the 1930s documented human presence dating back to the last Ice Age up to 17,000 years ago.

Unfortunately, when the park was created during the Great Depression, only a fraction of the Old Fields could be preserved and many significant resources were left unprotected. The current bill seeks to fulfill the original intent of Congress by preserving a larger portion of the Old Fields area. H.R. 482 will honor the ancestral story of the Muscogee Creek and other southeastern Native peoples, will promote tourism and boost economic growth, and will provide new opportunities for education and public enjoyment.

H.R. 959: Medgar Evers House Study Act – NPCA supports this legislation that would study the home of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, in order to determine significance, suitability, and feasibility of being a unit of the National Park System. Mr. Evers was a leader in the civil rights movement and was the first NAACP field secretary for Mississippi. His activist legacy lived on after his assassination at age 37.