Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund Grant Local Land Funds to Save Land in Northwest Arkansas | Advertisement
Northwest Arkansas Land Trust Receives Grant to Conserve 300 Acres of Ozark Forest
JOHNSON COUNTY, AR – The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) announced on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, recent grant funding from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund to move toward full funding for their initiative to permanently protect 300 acres of Ozark Forest in southern Washington County, AR, west of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel on Interstate 49.
The area, named Blackburn Bluffs Preserve, is a designated scenic drive at the entrance to the area and is home to over 400 species of plants and animals, including turkey, black bear, white-tailed deer, smallmouth bass, and is an important feeding area. for the northern long-eared bat, a federally endangered species, and the Ozark big-eared bat, a federally endangered species. Its natural beauty attracts thousands of tourists to the area every year. According to Pam Nelson, Director of Land Protection for NWALT, “The region’s population is expected to double between 2020 and 2045, reaching nearly one million. Northwest Arkansas is the fastest growing region in the central United States. On average, the region loses nine acres of open space each day.
Blackburn Bluffs Preserve is adjacent to 725 acres of private land which was permanently protected by a conservation easement in 2019. Together the properties establish a protected corridor for wildlife movement under the elevated highway. Conserving the two properties will protect 2.5 miles of Blackburn Creek, a tributary of the Lee Creek watershed that supplies drinking water to more than 200,000 people in the Fort Smith metropolitan area. The acquisition of Blackburn Bluffs Preserve is part of NWALT’s ongoing strategic effort to establish a scenic Boston Mountain Wildlife Corridor, aimed at connecting the publicly protected lands of Devil’s Den State Park and Boston National Forest. Ozark in the west to the Ozark National Forest in the east.
The Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund grant is part of the company’s initiative to invest in programs consistent with its commitment to conservation. This includes conserving wildlife and habitats, connecting new audiences to the outdoors, advocating for access and sportsman rights, and strengthening communities in the Ozarks of Missouri. “We believe our conservation plan for this area works in perfect alignment with the mission of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, as the permanent protection of Blackburn Bluffs Preserve will benefit Fort residents. Smith, Arkansas and those in Benton and Washington counties, the state’s tourism industry, and hunters and anglers,” Nelson said.
In addition to preserving natural resources and wildlife habitat in the Blackburn Bluffs Reserve, NWALT believes conserving this area will also increase access to outdoor recreation and community participation in guided hikes. and outdoor excursions that will result in increased community awareness of the importance of land conservation in the area.
About the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust
The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is the region’s first local, accredited land trust, dedicated to improving the quality of life through permanent land protection. By holding and managing donated lands and providing conservation easement services, the land trust protects water quality, local farms, wildlife habitats and outdoor recreation areas while improving the quality of lives of present and future generations. The Land Trust‘s service area includes 13 counties in northwest Arkansas, with a particular focus on Benton, Washington, Madison, and Carroll counties. For more information, visit the Land Trust’s website at www.nwalandtrust.org.