Mr. Speaker---I rise today to support a bill that is close to my heart as well as the hearts of many others in the 4th Congressional District of Georgia. That is, HR 2099, the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area Act. It would establish Arabia Mountain as a National Heritage Area, a recognition that is long overdue.
Arabia Mountain, a hidden treasure in its own right, is a place
where natural, cultural, historic and recreational resources are
intricately woven together to form an interconnected, nationally unique landscape. A true Georgia treasure--and an American one, too.
Arabia Mountain spans 4,000 acres. Arabia Mountain is part of an area in eastern Metropolitan Atlanta that has been linked to human settlement and activity for thousands of years. This area not only includes the mountain, but also lakes, rivers, quarries, marked trails, and farmland in the surrounding area.
The history of human settlement in this region is intimately connected to its geological resources, starting over 7,000 years ago with the quarrying and trading of soapstone. Not only is this home for deer, beavers, and other animals but a place where everyday people can find peace and get a way from the hustle and bustle of urban sprawl and enjoy a piece of America's true beauty.
Arabia Mountain is home to plants that only can be found on the mountain. Arabia Mountain is truly a national heritage area.
Arabia Mountain is also a place where families can come together to take a hike, be a part of a class, and even enjoy a cookout. We are in the midst of a season that causes us to remember the most important things in our lives--family.
Family, Mr. Speaker, is what Arabia Mountain is about. It is a place where you can watch the sunset with someone you love, photograph unique flora, discover Georgia's lizards with your child, or blow out her candles at a birthday party. I invite my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes on HR 2099, the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area Act. Arabia Mountain is, indeed, a genuine American beauty.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank
Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson for their support; Georgia's Department of Natural Resources for its valuable input; my colleagues David Scott and Jim Marshall for cosponsoring this bill; and my staff for preparing this bill and helping it get to the Floor of the House today. I'd especially like to thank Congressman Pombo, Chairman of the House Resources Committee and his staff and Nick Rahall, its Ranking Member, and his staff, for their advice and counsel as this bill went through the legislative process in the House.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.