The largest remaining wetland in Fayetteville, AR
IMMERSE yourself in nature at Wilson Springs Preserve, a 121-acre prairie wetland nestled in the heart of Fayetteville. Escape the bustle of urban life and surround yourself with spring-fed streams, tall grass prairie, oak forest, and the native plants and animals that make their home in the largest wetland remnant left in Fayetteville. After seven years of restoration by the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, removing invasive species and allowing native plants to thrive, Wilson Springs Preserve was open to public access on September 7, 2019.
Wilson Springs is located south of Sam's Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas, along Interstate 49.
Development over the past decade reduced the original landscape to its current 121-acres, located within an urban matrix of commercial and residential land uses.
The high diversity of plants and animals contained in Wilson Springs is due to its variety of micro-habitats, including riparian stream reaches, seasonal wetlands, tall grass prairie, and oak barrens.
The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust works with partner organizations and surrounding property owners to restore and preserve this important ecological area.
Wilson Springs Opening
Wilson Springs Restoration
Public access to Wilson Springs Preserve is located on the south side of Sam's Club parking lot (3081 N, AR-112, Fayetteville, AR 72704). To get to the trailhead, enter the Sam’s Club parking lot at the gas station entrance and park in the spaces about halfway down on the left.
Park Regulations – Stay Safe and Protect Wilson Springs!
Open dawn to dusk
Enter at your own risk
In case of emergency, dial 911
Foot traffic only; no bikes or motorized vehicles
No dogs; sensitive wildlife area
Stay on designated trails only
Do not feed or disturb wildlife
No collecting of plants, flowers or other natural elements
Unauthorized fishing and trapping prohibited
Hunting prohibited by municipal law
No camping or campfires
Pack out what you pack in; leave no trace
Notice: Natural areas have inherent risks. Enter at your own risk. Stay on designated trails only. Wear appropriate shoes and clothing. Avoid entering on excessively windy days. Please contact the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust at 479-966-466 to report any issues or suspicious activity. In case of emergencies, please dial 911.
Wilson Springs is a wet prairie that was historically maintained by large herbivores, such as elk and bison, and by periodic fire. With agriculture and urbanization, much of the land was converted. Despite these changes, Wilson Springs retained many of the ecological indicators of a seasonal wet prairie, including the associated flora and fauna. Wilson Springs is the southeastern most range of the Arkansas darter fish, an endangered species candidate which resides in shallow, flowing streams.
Protecting Water Quality
Wilson Springs is located along the floodway of Clabber Creek, a tributary of the Illinois River. With increased development in the area, there is increased runoff and transport of pollutants. As the largest wetland in Fayetteville, the area serves the critical function of slowing and filtering storm water before it reaches the stream.
Protecting Wilson Springs
The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust owns and manages Wilson Springs, restoring and preserving this important natural area. Restoration efforts currently include the removal of overgrowth and invasive plant species to allow the native seed bank to regenerate. Biological monitoring helps guide restoration efforts.
If you are interested in helping to protect Wilson Springs, you can sign up to volunteer - we're always looking for extra hands to help with invasive species removal, trash pickup, trail maintenance and more! Sign up here to volunteer.
The permanent restoration and protection of Wilson Springs would not be possible without the support of individual donors, partner organizations, corporate and community sponsors and volunteers. If you would like to join this circle of supporters, please become a member of the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust today! Click here for more info.