County wants historic site to be national park
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois county is rallying behind a push to get an ancient southwestern Illinois historical site designated as a national park.
St. Clair County’s governing board unanimously approved a resolution calling on Congress to take the action involving Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville east of St. Louis, the Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1hMzLqF) reported.
Those behind the effort believe that by seeking national recognition, Cahokia Mounds could bring additional regional tourism, jobs and money. The national designation would turn the 2,500-acre site over to the federal government, though it still would be administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Cahokia Mounds was the administrative center for the mound-building Mississippians, who flourished from around 700 to around 1400 over what is now the Midwest and Southeast.
The site, once home to among the most complex societies of ancient North America, is designated by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site.
Monday’s resolution follows similar recommendations by Gov. Pat Quinn and the state historic preservation agency, which hopes the national designation would boost tourism by linking together by trails the 120-plus mounds scattered throughout St. Louis’ Illinois suburbs.
“We’re looking for the National Park Service to declare a trail or zone linking all these various mounds together,” said Chris Wills, a spokesman for the preservation agency. “We are hoping to have more cooperation amongst them and some sort of attempt to have signage or maps to let people know that if they are interested in this, then they would be interested in a site five miles away.”
Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com