We’re taking a bold step to protect land in Northwest Arkansas. Join us as we embark on this new challenge, together.
Northwest Arkansas Land Trust’s 5,000 Acre Campaign – by 2021:
- Save 5,000 acres of important natural areas
- Raise $2.8 million dollars in community support
- Contribute over 1,600 volunteer hours to care for the land
- Open at least 6 new properties to the public
“The goal of the campaign is to proactively protect and steward those landscapes which provide the greatest public benefit to our region”, says Terri Lane, executive director.
How will land be protected?
First, we rely heavily on conservation-minded landowners, just as we have for the past 15 years. The vast majority of high-value conservation land is privately held. The land trust works with willing landowners to find a conservation path that works best for them. This includes land donations, conservation easements and other arrangements.
In some cases, however, the only way to save key properties is to buy them. Through this campaign, the land trust will establish a land acquisition fund to quickly act on the purchase of vulnerable lands.
Land owned by the land trust is permanently protected as preserves. The land trust also sometimes facilitates the purchase of properties to be owned by a city and permanently protected by a conservation easement and stewardship collaboration with the land trust.
Where will protected lands be?
The majority of land will be in Benton and Washington counties, the two most rapidly urbanizing counties in Northwest Arkansas. The land trust will continue to work with landowners in all counties throughout our service region.
The land trust focuses on “landscape scale” conservation, an approach that maximizes public benefit by protecting whole landscapes. Our priority landscapes protect drinking water, wildlife habitat, local food and farms, outdoor recreation and scenic resources.
Our goals are also strategically aligned with the Northwest Arkansas Open Space Plan. The Plan identifies areas throughout Benton and Washington counties that are most important for conservation. The land trust is one of the leading partners in developing and implementing the Plan which serves as a valuable tool for smart growth in our region.
How will people be involved on the land?
Connecting people to the land is a critical part of our mission. The land trust regularly schedules volunteer efforts, citizen science opportunities, programs through the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom, and other “on-the-land” events.
“Through this campaign, we are excited to develop trails and public access on several land trust preserves, and to further ramp up our outreach and volunteer efforts”, says Sim Barrow, communications and outreach manager for the land trust.
The land trust takes a holistic approach to land conservation. “We believe that good land stewardship starts with knowing what is there”, says Alan Edmondson, land stewardship specialist for the land trust. By documenting the condition of the land – including plants, animals and any sensitive habitats – we can protect, honor and highlight those features for the future. Volunteers, interns and land trust members are key to these efforts.
How can I support the campaign?
This is a bold campaign that will require the participation and support of the community – individuals, corporations, and community partners.
A generous grant through the Walton Family Foundation allowed the land trust to increase its staff capacity to pursue the campaign, but community match must be raised for operational support, and the grant does not directly fund the purchase of land. Help us raise $2.8 million!