Flores to speak Tuesday, urges national status for historic site
By Sara Tirrito
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores will visit the Waco Mammoth Site on Tuesday to rally support for legislation that would classify the site as a national monument and establish it as a unit of the National Park Service.
Flores and Texas Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn brought the new legislation forth on April 14.
“I am proud to work with Senator Cornyn and Senator Hutchison to recognize this remarkably unique scientific discovery located in our own backyard,” Flores said in a press release. “This legislation would give Central Texas the opportunity to lay claim to the unique history of an extinct species, while providing education and enjoyment for families and students visiting from all over the country and throughout the world and benefiting future generations for many years to come. As visitors and researchers grow to understand and interpret the behavior and biology of the mammoths, this national recognition would allow us to maximize the value of the Waco Mammoth National Monument as a true national treasure.”
This is the site’s second chance at becoming a national monument; previous legislation concerning the site died in the U.S. Senate last year. But Jennifer Petit, the site’s education coordinator, said she believes the new legislation faces better odds.
“The outlook is very hopeful and it does look a lot better than it did last time,” Petit said.
She said she hopes the classification will help boost both tourism and the local economy, but also make others around the world aware of the site’s significance. The site contains the only known findings of a nursery herd of mammoths.
“This is kind of all we have left to study them,” Petit said, “so it kind of lets us know what the animals would have been like, as well as the area.”
Cornyn said he is proud to work to secure the national monument classification for the site, and that he commends the site’s Waco partners for their commitment.
“With a financial commitment from the local partners, this legislation will confer the national recognition that this unique site deserves — without adding to the federal budget and backlog at the National Park Service,” Cornyn said in a press release.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Sen. Hutchison on this effort as well as Congressman Bill Flores, who has joined our efforts to make this national recognition a reality.”