"Will A New National Park Mend Tribal Ties?"

"MACON, GA. — Everything seemed in place at Macon City Hall as Mayor Lester Miller slipped into his pink jacket to kick off the opening of the International Cherry Blossom Festival last month, when more than 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees hit their peak bloom.

Locals called it “the pinkest party on Earth,” yet another reason to celebrate the city’s growing national profile. With Macon marking its bicentennial this year, even The New York Times put the small Georgia city of roughly 100,0000 on its list of the top 52 places to visit in 2023, along with the likes of London, Cuba and Istanbul.

Amid all the buzz, only one thing seemed to be missing: a new national park, something that has eluded the city for years.

If city officials get their way, the National Park Service could soon team up to co-manage a new park on the outskirts of town with citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, more than 200 years after their ancestors were forced to relinquish their land and head west. They’re selling it as a potentially significant step for the Biden administration’s still nascent efforts to work with Native American tribes in management of public lands."

Rob Hotakainen reports for E&E News April 27, 2023.

Source: E&E News, 05/01/2023