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  • Pam Nelson

200 Acres on Little Mulberry Creek Protected!

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) is proud to announce permanent preservation of approximately 200 acres on the Little Mulberry Creek in Johnson County through a conservation easement by landowner Susan Gateley. This marks NWALT’s first conservation project in Johnson County.

“I chose to protect Little Mulberry Farm in a conservation easement so that future generations could enjoy the benefits of community and rural life, all while protecting our woods, streams, and farmlands,” said Gately.

Gately has owned the property since the 1970s when she arrived with her family during the back-to-the-land movement. She describes her first impression of the property as “magical,” with the river running close to a grove of ancient walnut trees. “I came from a long line of homesteaders, and I knew good land when I saw it,” she said.

This dense forest land sits next to National Forest Service tracts making it an excellent expansion for wildlife habitats. The conservation of this land from future development means its rich biodiverse environment will be protected for years to come. Additionally, protection from development will help maintain scenic views, the Little Mulberry Creek, a navigable stream, and important pasture land, flood plains and forests that enhance water quality in the area.

Gately’s decision to proceed with a conservation easement came about from her commitment to land stewardship. “The gift of good land does not come without responsibility,” she explained. “First, do no harm. Second, build your soil. Be grateful and humble, it is ours only for a short time. Only in our care can it be passed on to others.”

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and the Land Trust that limits certain mutually agreed upon uses of the land to protect its conservation values. Conservation easements are customized for every property. The landowner continues to own and use their land and they can sell it or pass it on to their heirs. Hunting and fishing are allowed, and public access is not required. The terms of the conservation easement stay with the deed and are upheld by the land trust in perpetuity.

“I chose NWALT to protect Little Mulberry Farm because they are not just another conservation group,” stated Gateley. “They understand the need to preserve available farmland for future generations. And, they are local and collaborative with other partners to protect our unique Ozark heritage.”

“We are so thankful for Susan’s commitment to future generations through protecting her land along Little Mulberry Creek” said Pam Nelson, Director of Land Protection. “Our work would not be possible without willing landowners. Their dedication to conservation leaves a legacy that will benefit the community for the years to come.”


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