Sept. 13, 2023
FAYETTEVILLE — Northwest Arkansas Land Trust recently announced the establishment of a significant 580-acre conservation easement in Crawford County in collaboration with landowners Philip and Rebecca Thompson.
The property is part of the Boston Mountains Scenic Wildlife Corridor, a priority area for NWALT, where a substantial block of U.S. Forest Service land is located. Recognizing the importance of connectivity among these landscapes lacking permanent protection, NWALT has been diligently working to establish conservation linkages.
This property is a vital component of NWALT’s effort to connect valuable portions of wildlife habitat and is situated within a corridor of privately owned lands alongside Interstate 49, nestled between the US Forest Service lands to the east and west.
One of the valuable outcomes of this conservation easement is the preservation of scenic views along Interstate 49, which are cherished by so many who travel to and from Northwest Arkansas.
“That part of I-49 is famously scenic, and the Land Trust’s conservation easement that is now in place will ensure that the mountain remains open space in perpetuity, either as privately owned land or until it becomes part of a state park, a national forest, or other protected land,” Rebecca Thompson said. “Every chance we get, we encourage landowners to get in touch with NWALT and learn about conservation easements.”
Grady Spann, NWALT Executive Director said, “What the Thompsons have done for conservation and the permanent protection of land is truly inspiring for all of us. Their investment in conservation will impact all living creatures on these 580 acres and will have an everlasting impact on the health of the natural habitat that we have the honor and privilege to protect as an accredited, non-profit land trust.”
The conserved property also encompasses two headwater streams that flow into Clear Creek, a major tributary to Frog Bayou. By safeguarding these vital waterways, NWALT and the Thompsons play a pivotal role in preserving the ecological integrity of the area, nurturing diverse aquatic ecosystems, and ensuring the sustained health of these natural resources.
“Everyone who owns undeveloped land in Northwest Arkansas should seriously consider initiating a conservation easement with NWALT. The property owner retains broad discretion regarding how it is used, including agricultural and recreational use, and even construction of a new home. It’s definitely a ‘win-win’ arrangement,” said Philip Thompson.
The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is the region’s first local and accredited land trust dedicated to enhancing the quality of life through permanent land protection. By holding and managing donated land and providing conservation easement services, the Land Trust protects water quality, local farms, wildlife habitats, and places for outdoor recreation while enhancing the quality of life for today and future generations. The service area of the Land Trust includes 13 counties in Northwest Arkansas, with a core focus on Benton, Washington, Madison, and Carroll counties. Visit www.nwalandtrust.org for more information.