On March 8, the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust announced that 700 acres of forest north of Devil's Den has been donated by Fayetteville lawyer Jack Butt as part of an expansion of the wildlife corridor project, which now includes more than 1,700 acres overall.
Marson Nance, Director of Land Protection and Stewardship with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, said her group is hoping to convert, if possible, a significant amount of neighboring properties to public land with intentions to create another outdoor space like Devil's Den and the Ozark National Forest. "We're working to protect water quality for our area, to preserve the scenic value of the area and to protect wildlife habitat," said Nance.
Jack Butt, the donor, mentioned that the land was settled in the years after the Civil War and has found remnants of rock walls, hand-dug wells, foundation stones and crumbled chimneys. Lee Creek, a source of drinking water for the Fort Smith area, also runs through the property. After buying his partners out of the property over the years, Butt said he and his wife Anne agreed they would be happy with the natural land preservation. Land preservation is a hot-topic among many NW-Arkansans, and the area's rising population is stirring concern among residents. -NWA Democrat-Gazette
Fayetteville's 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan
includes a section dedicated to the environment and details a number of conservation achievements since the adoption of the Open Space Plan
in 2016. "People in Northwest Arkansas definitely support the concept," said Elizabeth Bowen, Project Manager with the commission.
Read more about the announcement and other works by the NWA Land Trust, HERE.