Georgia may become home to a new national park

It sounds like fantasy: A national park stretching 50 miles along the Ocmulgee River between the cities of Macon and Hawkinsville in Middle Georgia.

It could happen. The National Park Service and other agencies are starting a new “special resource study” authorized by Congress to consider the feasibility of such a park. The study, which may take more than two years, could recommend to Congress that the river corridor become a national park, a national recreation area or some other type of preserve within the national park system.

Georgia already has one national recreation area along a river — the immensely popular Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, established in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. It’s hard to imagine Atlanta today without this magnificent resource.

If a similar park along the Ocmulgee becomes a reality, it would encompass a corridor that begins at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon, runs through the Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (just south of Macon) and other natural areas along the river, and ends at Hawkinsville in Pulaski County.

Biologists describe that stretch as one of the last remaining biologically significant places in the U.S. Southeast — with rich and diverse habitats for all types of birds, reptiles, fish and one of Georgia’s three black bear populations.

Audubon chapters and other wildlife groups in Georgia already are calling on members to provide data about birds and other wildlife along the Ocmulgee for the study.

The effort to establish the park was kicked off largely by the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative, a Middle Georgia citizens group ( The resource study for the project was authorized by Congress in March with the passage of the so-called Dingell Act, which President Trump signed into law.

IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be in first quarter on Tuesday night. Venus is very low in the west just after dark and sets shortly thereafter. Mars is low in the east just before dawn. Jupiter is low in the southwest at dusk and sets shortly thereafter. Saturn is low in the south just after dark and sets in the west about three hours later.