Monthly Archives: May 2015

What Do You Value Most? Public Input Continues for Open Space Plan, through June

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission (NWARPC) formally began efforts to develop a NWA Regional Open Space Master Plan (Benton and Washington Counties) in January.  Working with a variety of stakeholders (including the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust), they are ready to present the information that has been gained so far, and gather public input to begin drafting the plan.

Open Space PlanYour input is wanted!  Please join us for the second round of public input sessions:

  • Monday, June 8 at NEBCO Community Center, 17823 Marshall St. – Garfield
  • Tuesday, June 9 at The Jones Center, 922 E Emma Ave – Springdale
  • Wednesday, June 10 at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, 506 E Douglas St. – Prairie Grove
  • Thursday, June 11 at Gentry Library, 105 E Main St. – Gentry

All meetings will be drop-in from 4-6:30pm with the same information presented at each meeting.

Elizabeth Bowen, Project Manager with the NWARPC says, “The Plan will provide a strategic focus and direction toward establishing an open space network to support outdoor activities, economic opportunities, improved water quality, and habitats.”

Want to participate, but can’t make it to a meeting?  Visit http://www.nwaopenspace.compublic input is requested through an online comment form and an interactive input map found on this site.

Go Birding! Summer 2015 Field Trips with NWA Audubon Society

Our Friends at the Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society offer the following Summer Bird Trips:

photoSunday, June 7Cave Mountain and the upper Buffalo River in Newton County. Get ready for your annual tonic called “warbler neck.” The focus is on nesting birds in Ozark forests, including warblers: Cerulean, Hooded, Black-and-white, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Parula, and many others. We will inspect an amazing flora, too, like Pawpaws and Umbrella Magnolias. Meet at the Boxley Bridge at 9 AM. More information at: http://media.tripod.lycos.com/2020453/950078.pdf

Saturday, July 11Chesney Prairie Natural Area near Siloam Springs. See the mid to late summer flora of the Tallgrass Prairie, including blazing stars, other flowers, always fascinating pollinating insects that crowd the flowers of Rattlesnake Masters and various milkweeds, plus open country birds like American Kestrels, Dickcissels, and probably Loggerhead Shrikes. Meet at Chesney at 9 AM. Information about Chesney at: http://media.tripod.lycos.com/2020453/957092.pdf

All NWAAS field trips are free and open to the public. NWAAS welcomes new members, but membership is not a requirement for participation. Field trips are as accessible to everyone as possible; all ages & all abilities. Beginning birders are always welcome. Carpools are arranged where possible. For maps and more information go to www.nwarkaudubon.org.  If you are interested in being added to the NWAAS email list for updates on field trips and other society events, please send a message to: joeneal@uark.edu. (Some trip details can change; updates are sent via the email prior to the announced date.)

Volunteer! 10th Annual West Fork River Cleanup, May 16th

Volunteers Wanted – Join the 10th Annual West Fork (of the White River) Clean-up!

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2014 volunteers at Walker Park Check-In.

WHEN: Saturday, May 16th, 9am-1pm(Check-in 12-1pm; Lunch and Door Prizes 12-1pm)

WHERE: Check-in is available at the following locations:  Walker Park in Fayetteville, 10 W. 15th Street; Slicker Park in Winslow, South Hwy. 71; Riverside Park in West Fork, Arkansas 170.  Leaders will depart with teams from check-in.

  • Don’t miss lunch!  Provided to all volunteers, 12pm at Riverside Park.

WHAT: Collecting trash from the river as well as smaller tributary streams throughout the watershed.  Wear appropriate shoes and clothing.  (T-shirts, gloves and trash bags will be provided.)

WHO: All volunteers are welcome! Organized by a conservation partnership led by the Beaver Watershed Alliance. For more information, call 479-750-8007 or email alli@beaverwatershedalliance.org.

Let’s help keep our rivers and streams CLEAN!  See you there!

We’ve Moved! – Come See Our New Location on Kessler Mountain

NWALT  Moves to the Historic Ozark Mountain Smokehouse on Kessler Mountain

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Come see our new home on Kessler Mountain.

In March of this year, we took NWALT supporter, conservation activist and community leader Frank Sharp up on an offer to relocate our land trust offices to his historic Ozark Mountain Smokehouse.  The building is located at the base of Kessler Mountain, between Farmington and Fayetteville, AR.

While you’ll no longer find the iconic smoked meats and cheeses (those of us who frequented the business for many years, including former President Clinton and his family, certainly miss the sandwich bar and homemade pickles), Frank’s vision for the second life of the building – as a location for like-minded local businesses and non-profits to come together – feeds the community in a different way.

For the land trust, the opportunity to headquarter our conservation mission in such a historic building, at the base of one of the region’s most important natural areas, was a fitting and timely next step for our growing organization.

The land trust is currently completing a conservation easement on the 387-acre Kessler Mountain Reserve, recently acquired by the city of Fayetteville as a public open space.

DSC00443The Reserve is home to many unique plants and animals, including several identified as rare or threatened.  NWALT’s Land Stewardship Specialist, Alan Edmondson, is completing his master’s thesis studying the old growth trees discovered during his research on Kessler Mountain.  The natural park also includes trails for hiking, biking, trail running and nature observation.

In addition, the land trust is working with Fayetteville Public Schools and the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association who began an effort to establish an Outdoor Classroom on the first floor of the building. The land trust will also incorporate a Kessler Mountain Nature Center into the space, which will be open to the public. A trail loop from the building will enhance the Nature Center and Outdoor Classroom for outreach to families, organizations and area schools, including Fayetteville, Farmington and Greenland.

The land trust shares the 18,000 square foot building with its original post-smokehouse-era tenant, local clothing company Fayettechill whose offices are headquartered in the building.  (For retail purchases, visit their store on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.) The building is also home to Bigbot Graphic Design and volunteer-led community groups, Ozark Off-Road Cyclists and Kessler Mountain Greenways Association.

With room to grow as we add necessary equipment, staff and increase our outreach activities, the land trust is poised to flourish well into the future in our new home.

Drop by anytime for a tour, and to learn more about the work of the land trust and our plans for the future.  Directions: 1725 Smokehouse Trail, Fayetteville, AR.  From Interstate 49 in Fayetteville, exit west on Martin Luther King Blvd (Hwy. 62). Travel approximately 2 miles. The Smokehouse will be on your left, just before the Farmington city limits.