Wilson Springs Preserve, Fayetteville, AR
The Wilson Springs Preserve is a unique wet prairie located at the headwaters of Clabber Creek in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This 121-acre preserve is the largest wetland remnant in Fayetteville and one of the last tall grass prairies in the region.
Decades of fire suppression and lack of large grazing herbivores (such as bison and elk who once roamed the land), along with land conversion for agriculture and urban growth, led to the excessive overgrowth of woody vegetation and invasive, non-native plants. The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust took ownership of the property in 2011 and began restoration in 2012. Land stewardship activities include the removal of woody overgrowth, control of invasive plants and trees, and monitoring of water quality and wildlife populations to guide ongoing habitat restoration efforts.
Wilson Springs provides valuable ecosystem services to the community. As a wetland, it protects water quality and controls flooding by slowing runoff and filtering pollutants before they reach our waterways. It also provides scenic value to surrounding properties while providing habitat to many unique plants and animals, including beneficial pollinators.
The preserve hosts a rich variety of habitats, including spring-fed streams, wetland, tall grass prairie, and oak savannah. The Arkansas darter, a fish candidate for federal endangered species listing, resides on the property. Through continued restoration efforts, many unique plants and animals benefit, conserving an important piece of our natural heritage.
There are several ways to get involved at Wilson Springs. NWALT’s “Conservation Crew” is a group of committed volunteers who work on the land assisting with land stewardship needs such invasive plant removal, clean-ups, and species monitoring. In addition, Wilson Springs is a valuable asset for environmental education and research, thanks to its convenient location and unique habitats. The land trust hosts its annual “Big Sit” in November, which is a birdwatching event with a tailgating theme. Other programs include wetland walks, plant hikes, and more.
Wilson Springs Preserve is not currently open to the general public; however public access planning is underway. In the meantime, please contact us for individual access to the property for birding, nature study or photography, or to request a guided tour for your school, youth or civic organization. To inquire, please contact Sim Barrow at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 479-966-4666.