President Signs Sen. Isakson Legislation to Protect Georgia Historic Lands
Thursday, March 14th, 2019
President Donald J. Trump signed into law three pieces of legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to expand and protect three Georgia historic sites: Ocmulgee National Monument, Fort Frederica National Monument and Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park. The new law also reauthorizes funds for the state, local, and federal partnership to preserve the Augusta Canal as a National Heritage Area and promote tourism and commerce for the area.
Isakson’s bills were included in a public lands legislative package, S.47, which passed by overwhelming bipartisan margins in the Senate and U.S. House. The legislation also includes a measure Isakson has long supported to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“This new law will benefit residents and visitors across much of our state, from the Georgia coast at Fort Frederica in St. Simons to Middle Georgia where we are creating the new Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon, to the Central Savannah River Area’s Augusta Canal, and further north at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park,” said Isakson. “I appreciate the dedication of state, local and federal officials for working with me to see this through to preserve Georgia’s rich history, to expand recreational activities and to provide a boost for our tourism industry. I thank the president for signing it quickly into law.”
The Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act (S.88) would designate Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Ga., as a national historical park and expand its boundaries from approximately 700 acres to approximately 2,800 acres. It would also change the park’s name from “Ocmulgee National Monument” to “Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park.” The legislation also authorizes a special resource study to evaluate potential future park expansions, which would further protect vulnerable land and allow visitors more opportunities for recreational activities. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Sanford Bishop, Jr., D-Ga.-02, and cosponsored by Reps. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga.-11, and Austin Scott, R-Ga.-08. Isakson introduced S.88 with Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., as a cosponsor.
The Fort Frederica National Monument Boundary Expansion Act (S.89) would increase the maximum number of acres that may be included in the monument, located on St. Simons Island, Ga., from 250 acres to 305 acres. Due to current statute, legislation is required to expand the authorized boundary and remove the 250-acre limit established by Congress in 1958. S.89 also allows the National Park Service to acquire, by donation or purchase, the land and interests within the monument only from those willing to sell additional land for inclusion. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga.-01, and cosponsored by Reps. Rick Allen, R-Ga.-12, Bishop, Doug Collins, R-Ga.-09, Drew Ferguson, R-Ga.-03, Jody B. Hice, R-Ga.-10, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., D-Ga.-04, John Lewis, D-Ga.-05, Loudermilk, Austin Scott, David Scott, D-Ga.-13, and Rob Woodall, R-Ga.-07.
The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Boundary Adjustment Act (S.87) would add eight acres of land to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Kennesaw, Ga. The expansion would include the historic Wallis House and Harriston Hill. Expanding the park to include these additional eight acres and original structures will more effectively convey the magnitude of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and provide visitors with a unique perspective of the park’s historical significance. The legislation also authorizes the National Park Service to acquire land from willing landowners by donation, purchase or exchange. The eight acres that will be added to the park have already been purchased by Cobb County and the Cobb Land Trust and is expected to be donated to the park. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Loudermilk, and cosponsored by Reps. Bishop, Carter, Hice and Johnson. Isakson introduced S.87 with Perdue as a cosponsor.
The measure incorporating these three bills passed the Senate on Feb. 12 and the U.S. House on Feb. 26.