Monthly Archives: November 2013

Local Family Protects “Whooping Hollow Woods”

Local Family Donates Their 570-acre “Whooping Hollow Woods” to the Land Trust

ALPINA, AR (May 12, 2012) – Paul and Diana Guraedy, along with sons David and Philip Guraedy, WHW_Mountainside in Fall 2012announced the protection of their 100 year-old homestead at a gathering of friends and family on Saturday, May 12, 2012. As part of the family’s irrevocable trust the property, locally called Whooping Hollow Woods, is to be donated to Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) who is charged with protecting the property for generations to come.

Diana Guraedy’s grandfather, J.A. Smith, homesteaded the original 160 acre parcel on May 12, 1912. Over the next 100 years, Smith’s children, Economy Scoles, Success Vestraci, and Exel Smith, steadily added acreage to the original parcel, for a total of 650 acres. After retiring to the family property in 1975, the Guraedy family’s dream was to preserve Whooping Hollow Woods in its natural state and in 2011 they partnered with NWALT to make the dream a reality.

“This place has been the one constant throughout my life,” said Diana Guraedy. “Despite all the places across the nation that I have lived, this is the place that never changed. I’m so pleased that it will always stay the same and that our sons are as eager for its preservation as we are.”

Whooping Hollow Woods is located at the headwaters of Dishroon Creek, a part of Long Creek and a tributary of Table Rock Lake. With forested riparian buffers surrounding several creeks and springs, preservation of the property will help maintain water quality in Long Creek and Table Rock Lake. And with over 300 acres of Ozark native forest, the site is home to a wide variety of local flora and fauna.

“When I first met Paul and Diana, it was obvious how much they cared for Whooping Hollow Woods, its history, and the diversity of wildlife on their property,” said Nicole Hardiman, NWALT’s Executive Director at the time. “With Paul’s career in the National Park Service, the family spent many years living on protected lands across the United States. Their goal of preserving this beautiful piece of land and their personal sacrifice is an inspiration.”

The project involved several key individuals to make it a success. NWALT Board member and local estate planning attorney, Micki Harrington, took on the task of setting up the Guraedy’s irrevocable trust, which names NWALT as the recipient of Whooping Hollow Woods.

“When Paul and Diana approached our Board, we jumped at the chance to help them out,” said Harrington. “The mission of NWALT is to protect land for ecological, agricultural, and historic purposes, so it was a natural fit.”

Additionally, Ozarks Water Watch (OWW) financially supported the project through their OWW Project Fund. Angela Danovi, OWW’s Northwest Arkansas-based staff member, represented the organization at Saturday’s gathering. “Preservation of Whooping Hollow Woods is a significant contribution to the preservation of clean water in the Long Creek watershed. We are pleased to support the land conservation efforts of Northwest Arkansas Land Trust,” commented Danovi.

David Guraedy, one of Paul and Diana’s sons, added, “If we don’t do things like this, there will be nothing like it left. Even within my lifetime, the landscape around our property has changed, despite the fact that we don’t live close to an urban area. If this place can change, then what hope is there for more populated locations?”

If you are interested saving your land, contact Terri Lane at tlane@nwalandtrust.org or 479-966-4666.  We are happy to discuss all available options and answer any questions you may have.

 

Land Trust Announces Application for Accreditation

flyThe Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is pleased to announce it is applying for accreditation.  Upon successful completion, it will be the first accredited local land trust in the state of Arkansas.  A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.

The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.  

“Achieving accreditation is a major undertaking, and one that our land trust values very highly”, says Terri Lane, executive director.  “The seal of accreditation will mean that our land conservation efforts are being conducted to national standards, and that we are continually striving to improve the quality, sustainability, and effectiveness of our organization.”

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see www.landtrustaccreditation.org/tips-and-tools/indicator-practices.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, please visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to info@landtrustaccreditation.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Comments on the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust’s application will be most useful by June 1, 2014.

Together We Can Protect the West Fork of the White River

west fork_revisedThe West Fork of the White River is a natural treasure – an important resource for all of Northwest Arkansas.  Fishing, recreation and tourism increase the quality of the life in our region and put dollars into our local economies.

The White River enriches the scenic value of our region, provides critical habitat for local wildlife, and is a major tributary of Beaver Lake, the primary source of drinking water for over 400,000 Northwest Arkansans.

Unfortunately, the West Fork of the White River is listed as impaired by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).  The primary source of impairment is unnaturally high levels of sedimentation – dirt and rock that washes into the river, accelerated by the clearing of forested riparian zones, streambank erosion, unpaved roads and construction activity.

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is partnering with the Beaver Watershed Alliance (BWA) and the Watershed Conservation Resource Center (WCRC), reaching out to landowners to help solve this problem and save the river.  The ultimate goal is to see the West Fork removed from the states 303 (d) list, and to ensure this valuable resource is protected for current and future generations.

To achieve that goal, the partnership is committed to promoting community awareness and engaging interested landowners in efforts that will improve their land and improve the river.  Efforts include voluntary conservation easements, streambank and river channel restoration projects, riparian tree planting, alternative water sources for livestock, and more.  To date, landowners have collaborated in protecting and restoring over 70 acres of private land along the West Fork.

To learn more, contact Terri Lane at tlane@nwalandtrust.org, or 479-966-4666.