Wilson Springs Preserve
Size: 121 Acres
Date Conserved: 2011
Wilson Springs Preserve is a unique wet prairie located at the headwaters of Clabber Creek in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This 121-acre preserve is the largest wetland remnant in Fayetteville and one of the last tall grass prairies in the region.
Decades of fire suppression and lack of large grazing herbivores (such as bison and elk who once roamed the land), along with land conversion for agriculture and urban growth, led to the excessive overgrowth of woody vegetation and invasive, non-native plants. The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust took ownership of the property in 2011 and began restoration in 2012. Land stewardship activities include the removal of woody overgrowth, control of invasive plants and trees, and monitoring of water quality and wildlife populations to guide ongoing habitat restoration and land management efforts.
Wilson Springs provides valuable ecosystem services to the community. As a wetland, it protects water quality and controls flooding by slowing runoff and filtering pollutants before they reach our waterways. It also provides scenic value to surrounding properties while providing critical habitat to many unique plants and animals, including beneficial pollinators.
The preserve hosts a rich variety of habitats, including spring-fed streams, wetland, tall grass prairie, and oak savannah. The Arkansas darter fish and other plants and animals identified as Species of Greatest Conservation need in Arkansas reside on the property. Through continued restoration efforts, many unique plants and animals benefit, conserving an important piece of our natural heritage.
Wilson Springs Preserve was opened to the public in September 2019. Public access to this sensitive habitat area is intentionally designed for low-impact, passive enjoyment, including walking, wildlife watching, nature photography and solitude seeking.The preserve is open from dawn until dusk every day.