“OSI is proud of our role in the protection and expansion of Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “This land is incredibly special, holding history dating back thousands of years. With this transaction, we are ensuring its permanent protection and acknowledging the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s historic and ancestral connection to this hallowed place.”
The park contains some of the most significant Native American mounds in North America and was the largest single archeological excavation in American history, producing more than two million artifacts, in the 1930s. The park’s striking mounds are marvels of highly skilled Indigenous engineering, that today constitute one of America’s most important cultural landscapes. Seven of the mounds can be found at the park, including the 55-foot-high Great Temple Mound, located on a high bluff overlooking the floodplain of the Ocmulgee River. The Muskogean people who built these mounds spoke unique dialects reflecting lingual divergence from other tribes more than 3,000 years ago, making Muskogean — which is still spoken today — the only truly native southeastern language.
The conservation project was funded by the NPS using Land and Water Conservation Funds, Knobloch Family Foundation through a grant to OSI, Peyton Anderson Foundation through a grant to the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative, and the National Park Foundation.
Efforts to protect the park would not be possible without the partnership of the Ocmulgee Land Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, and Georgia Conservancy.
The newly acquired land will initially be closed to the public as the NPS develops a management plan to identify effective ways to preserve the integrity and interpret the site, while also providing access to it. The NPS will invite public involvement in planning for the site.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a self-governed Native American tribe located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is one of the Five Civilized Tribes and is the fourth largest tribe in the U.S. with 93,100 citizens.
Established in 1936 as a unit of the National Park Service, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park preserves and interprets evidence of one of the longest periods of human habitation at any one site in the national park system. Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park has yielded artifacts from every major period of American Indian history in the Southeast. Visitors are encouraged to explore earthen mounds, a restored ceremonial earth lodge with original clay floor, an early colonial trading post, and Civil War earthworks.
The Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative (ONPPI) is a community-based group of Middle Georgia citizens working together to expand the current site of the Ocmulgee National Historical Park into Georgia’s first and only National Park and Preserve.
The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible.
The Open Space Institute (OSI) protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands, and sustain communities. Founded in 1974, OSI has grown to become a partner in the protection of more than 2.3 million acres along the eastern seaboard from Quebec to Florida — including over 100,000 acres in the Southeastern U.S.