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Fate of Fort Morris unclear
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Although the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has no list of parks and historic sites targeted for closure, history buffs and others are concerned about the standing of Fort Morris in the wake of state budget cuts.
The DNR board Wednesday unanimously approved a large number of reductions including authorizing the closure of up to six state parks and up to seven historic sites, without specifying which facilities might be closed.
Kim Hatcher, DNR spokeswoman, said elected officials and the governor’s Office of Planning and Budget would make final decisions on the cuts.
“All state departments were directed to plan for reductions of six, eight or 10 percent in the current fiscal year, ‘09, and next year,” she said.
State leaders need to find a minimum of $1.6 billion to cut from the budget approved in April. State revenues have been reduced by the general downturn of the economy.
Hatcher said speculation based on which facilities had been targeted in the past was unwarranted, and emphasized, “We take direction from the General Assembly.”
The Fort Morris State Historic Site on the Liberty County coast was on the chopping block last year when DNR’s Division of State Parks and Historic Sites was looking for places to make cuts. Its hours were temporarily reduced then.
The fort, Georgia’s only Revolutionary War site, was also threatened with closure in 1997 when the state was making a five percent budget cut. Gov. Zell Miller kept the site in the budget at that time.
“The efforts of local citizens who were interested enough to write letters and contact the governor’s office played a great part,” in the governor’s decision, Buddy DeLoach, state representative at the time, said.
Fort Morris is one of the few remaining Revolutionary War era earthwork fortifications in the United States. First fortified in the 1750s, the fort was manned to protect the once prosperous seaport town of Sunbury.
Fort Morris was surrendered to the British on Jan. 9, 1779, the last patriot post to fall in the American Revolution. It was also used in the War of 1812. It served as a mustering point during the Civil War, but saw no action.

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