Monthly Archives: December 2015

Elm Springs Spring Protected Forever through Conservation Easement

Property to Become Steele-Stevens Heritage Park

elm_springs_editedThe namesake spring of Elm Springs has been permanently protected through a conservation easement that will allow for public access to one of the most historic pieces of land in the city. Landowners Gene and Glenda Stevens donated the easement to the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust.

The approximately one-acre site that surrounds the spring will soon become the Steele-Stevens Heritage Park, managed in part by the Historical Society of Elm Springs.

 Protection of this site is an example of the collaborative win-win conservation efforts we strive for. This project helps preserve the heritage of Elm Springs, protect water quality, and provide a scenic park accessible to the people of Elm Springs.

This is the first property protected under our new LandWise Conservation Initiative, an effort to engage regional decision-makers and willing landowners in the permanent protection of important landscapes in the growing NWA region. The LandWise Initiative is supported by a matching grant from the Walton Family Foundation and tied, in part, to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission’s Open Space Plan. The Elm Springs site received the highest conservation priority ranking possible under the Plan due to its combination of historic and ecological significance. For more information about LandWise, click here.

The land and spring have a rich history as a Native American site, a civil war training ground, a trout farm and more. As the Steele-Stevens Heritage Park, it will be used to educate present and future generations about the story of Elm Springs.

Preservation of the property as public space is a dream shared by Glenda Stevens. The property has been in her family, the Steele Family, for over 100 years.

We thank CEI Engineering, who donated the survey of the land and Realty Title, who donated the title investigation. The Historical Society of Elm Springs will conduct a parkland dedication ceremony for the Steele-Stevens Heritage Park in the spring of 2016.

Congress Passes Major Conservation Legislation

Tax incentives for conservation easements made permanent

Capitol_domeThe Northwest Arkansas Land Trust praises the recent bipartisan congressional vote that makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation.

Landowners and the public will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources. NWALT was among the 1,100 land trusts to support the incentive through a collaborative, multi-year campaign.

We applaud Senators Boozman and Cotton for their early response to our request that they co-sponsor the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Conservation easements are one of our most important tools for permanently protecting wildlife habitats, family farms and places for outdoor recreation in Northwest Arkansas.

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is an accredited member of the Land Trust Alliance, the national land conservation organization that led the campaign for permanence.

“The importance of this vote – and this incentive – cannot be overstated,” said Rand Wentworth, the Alliance’s president. “This is the single greatest legislative action in decades to support land conservation. It states, unequivocally, that we as a nation treasure our lands and must conserve their many benefits for all future generations.”

First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. The incentive grants certain tax benefits to landowners who sign a conservation easement. Such private, voluntary agreements with local land trusts like the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, permanently limit certain uses of the land in order to protect its unique conservation value. Lands placed into conservation easements stay in private ownership, can be sold or passed on to heirs, and can continue to be farmed, hunted or used for other specified purposes. The lands also remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.

Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

For more information about conservation options with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, click here.

More information about the Land Trust Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

Starry Night Star Gazing – December 17, 6:00-8:00 PM

See the stars while enjoying hot chocolate and hot cider on Kessler Mountain!

14719938446_950193aae1_qThe Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is hosting an evening of stargazing at Kessler Mountain on Thursday, December 17 from 6:00-8:00 PM.  We will learn about stars and constellations while enjoying hot chocolate and hot cider.  Meet at the Ozark Smokehouse, at 6:00 PM. The group will shuttle to Frank Sharp’s house for the program.

Dress in warm clothes and bring a telescope if you have one!  For more information, contact sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org

 

Photo: Kenneth Younger III on Flikr

Ozark Highlands Trail Association Day Hike on Kessler Mountain – Dec. 5

Join the Ozark Highlands Trail Association on a day hike at Kessler Mountain

The Ozark Highlands Trail Association (OHTA) is hosting a hike on Kessler Mountain this Saturday, December 5 at 8:45 AM.  The 5 mile loop will be moderate difficulty level.  This is a great opportunity to explore Fayetteville’s newest park and preserve!  The group will meet at the Cato Springs Trailhead on Cato Springs Road off of exit 61 on I-49.

The outing is limited to 22 hikers.  Contact Judy Woltjen to reserve your spot: 479-521-7032 or ozarktraveler1@att.net