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Federal Recreation and Historic Sites in Georgia and Kansas Remarks on Signing H.R. 8336 Into Law.

August 15, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. The President of the United States has many pleasant duties to perform. But I don't know of any legislation that I have signed since I've been in the White House, nor will sign while I'm here, that brings me more personal pleasure than does this.

Several years of my life have been spent, even before I became Governor of Georgia, developing an acute interest in, and a love for, the Chattahoochee River. It's one of the most beautiful places in our country, extremely valuable to all those who know it, who live near it, and who appreciate the quiet and seclusion and the beauty and the value of this river to our people. It's a rare occasion when within the city limits of one of our major cities, one can find pure water and trout and free canoeing and rapids and the seclusion of the Earth the way God made it. But the Chattahoochee River is this kind of place.

Standing around me are people who care as much for the river as do I, who have been down the river many times, in great crowds and also in seclusion. And I'm particularly grateful that Senator Sam Nunn and Senator Herman Talmadge are here, who worked so long and hard on this bill; Congressman Wyche Fowler and Congressman Elliott Levitas, in whose district most of this preservation will be done and encouragement for use of the river will be accomplished.

I particularly want to thank Senator Abourezk and Senator Pete Williams; and especially Phil Burton, who has husbanded this legislation through the Congress in a very effective fashion.

This legislation will provide authorization-not the appropriation of money yet—for the acquisition of property over a 48-mile stretch, from Buford Dam down to Peachtree Creek, which is in the city limits of Atlanta, Georgia, varying in width of sometimes up to 4,000 feet wide.

It will not permit Federal money to be used to acquire land that's owned by any other government entity. That land must be deeded free of charge to this national recreation area.

If I've ever seen a project that was initiated from the local level in a very unselfish way, it's this one. We came a long way in Georgia in preserving this valuable national asset on our own. And many landowners donated property, private organizations contributed money, and the intense interest of our people for many, many years has resulted in this legislation.

There's a practical benefit, also, in preserving the beauty and the quality of this area and the purity of the water. From this river, the Chattahoochee, comes water for 25 percent of the total population of Georgia, almost a million-and-a-half people.

This is a great step forward and is indicative of the need for well-preserved recreation areas to be in the immediate vicinity of major urban centers.

I want to say, also, that this legislation has broader interest than just to Georgia. There is an authorization for the preservation of the Fort Scott National Historical landmark in Kansas, and this is a very beneficial type of action by the Congress that shows a good coordination between private citizens, local, State, and Federal Government.

So, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I sign into law this legislation, House bill 8336, that will authorize the national recreation area encompassing the Chattahoochee River and the Fort Scott National Historical landmark in Kansas.

Thank you all for making this happy day possible for me and for those who love the Earth the way God made it. Thank you.

[At this point, the President signed the bill.]

REPRESENTATIVE LEVITAS. Mr. President, thank you for this opportunity that you have provided, not only to the people of Georgia but to all Americans. If there's ever been a project that started with an idea and involved citizens who wanted to see that idea fulfilled, it's been this Chattahoochee River. Citizens who cared and were concerned and were willing to sacrifice all over the State of Georgia made this possible. And I'm glad to see so many young children here today, because what has been done, the bill that you've signed, will make it possible for them and their children and their children's children to enjoy the same beauty and wonders of nature on the Chattahoochee that we have.

And I want to give you my personal thanks for your leadership as Governor and as President, not only in this but what it symbolizes for other things and for the future. Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you all very much. This is a very good day for all of us.

Note: The President spoke at 9: 32 a.m. at the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House.

As enacted, H.R. 8336 is Public Law 95-344, approved August 15.

Jimmy Carter, Federal Recreation and Historic Sites in Georgia and Kansas Remarks on Signing H.R. 8336 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248444

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