With preservation in mind, Fayetteville couple buys 700 acres near Bobby Hopper Tunnel along Interstate 49

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 9,151 views 

An agreement between the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust and Fayetteville residents Tina Moore and Paul Green will preserve 700 acres along Interstate 49 forever.

The land is in southern Washington County, just north of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel. Moore and Green, who are married, purchased the land for $1.08 million from Heartland Growth & Management. It was placed into a conservation easement with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, ensuring it will remain in its natural state.

“We both felt that the expansive view of the Ozark National Forrest that is seen when first emerging out of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel going north is something worth preserving,” Moore said in a statement. “This property is a critical link for wildlife passing under the highway through this vast wilderness. Paul and I both realized that we could join this monumental effort to preserve part of what makes Northwest Arkansas such a magical place to call home.”

The couple’s property is called Rotten Bluff Hollow. The land links between Ozark National Forest to the east, and nearly linking to Devil’s Den State Park to the west. This link provides an important connection for wildlife to safely cross under the highway between larger areas of protected lands.

“What sets this property apart from others is having a major highway running through it with these mammoth concrete supports,” Moore said. “It feels remote, and yet there is pretty much constant traffic noise, which is a reminder of how important it is to preserve these open spaces.”

In addition to preserving the scenic viewshed and protecting a critical wildlife corridor, conservation of the property is crucial to protecting drinking water for more than 200,000 Arkansans who rely on the Lee Creek Reservoir. Blackburn Creek runs through the center of the property and is part of the Lee Creek Watershed. It is named after Sylvanus Blackburn, who built War Eagle Mill in 1832.

“This project is a perfect example of how private landowners and the land trust can work together to leave a lasting legacy for future generations”, said Terri Lane, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust.  “This property was identified as a high priority for preservation by the NWA Open Space Plan Coalition and a critical landscape for continued preservation efforts by the land trust. This is a true win for our region.”

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