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Steele-Stevens Heritage Park

County: Washington

Size: 1 Acre

Date Conserved: 2015

Open to the public

106 Water Ave, Springdale, AR 72762

About the Park

The namesake spring of Elm Springs in the original town center is permanently protected through a conservation easement which offers public access to one of the most historic pieces of land in Northwest Arkansas. Elm Springs served as a gathering point for newly recruited confederate soldiers in 1861 prior to the Battle of Pea Ridge. By 1862, Elm Spring was a mustering site for confederate units from Arkansas and Missouri. Two minor skirmishes were fought in Elm Springs on April 26, and July 30, 1863. The property has been in the Steele family for over 100 years and landowners Gene and Glenda Stevens donated the easement to the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust in 2015. Preservation of the property as public space was a dream of Glenda Stevens. The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust has a long-term lease to manage the park for public enjoyment.

​Steele-Stevens Heritage Park is approximately 1 acre. This park helps preserve the heritage of Elm Springs, protects water quality in the Illinois River Watershed, and provides a scenic park for picnics and playing in the creek. There is a bench and picnic table for public use.

Steele-Stevens Heritage Park received the highest conservation priority ranking possible under the Northwest Arkansas Open Space Plan due to its combination of historic and ecological significance. The land and spring have a rich history as a Native American site, a Civil War training ground, a trout farm and more.


Location & Access

Steele-Stevens Heritage Park is located on Water Ave in Elm Springs, Arkansas just west of the intersection of Hwy 112 and Water Ave.  Visitors may park in the gravel lot facing the Camp Shadow installation near the Historical Marker.


There is no trail. Visitors may explore the park at their leisure.


Things to See

  • Elm Spring flows from beneath an old springhouse near the site of a grist mill which was destroyed during the Civil War.

  • The spring creek is cool and clear and is habitat to several crayfish, salamander, and fish species.

  • Native Plants- Many native shrubs were planted along the border of the park in cooperation with Illinois River Watershed partnership including elderberry and ninebark.  Their spring and summer blooms attract a wide variety of pollinating insects.

  • Camp Shadow- This metal art gallery represents what developed as a Civil War training camp for both the Union and Confederate forces who were stationed by Elm Spring. These silhouettes embody the various spirits of the past who were a part of the recruiting class encamped at Elm Springs during the 1860's. The installation was installed in 2018 by the Heritage Center of Elm Springs.

  • A large open green is available for laying in the grass or throwing a football.


Rules & Regs

  • Open dawn to dusk.

  • Enter at your own risk.

  • In case of emergency, dial 911.

  • Foot traffic only; no bikes or motorized vehicles.

  • Please clean up after your pets.

  • Creek wading allowed.

  • Do not feed or disturb wildlife.

  • No collecting of plants, flowers or other natural elements.

  • Unauthorized fishing and trapping prohibited.

  • No camping or campfires.

  • Pack out what you pack in; leave no trace.

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