Fayetteville nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT), a regional land conservation group, announced details Monday (Dec. 11) of a conservation easement with landowner Bob Breeze in the southern part of Washington County.
The 130-acre property, situated east of Interstate 49 and adjacent to the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, is within NWALT’s Boston Mountain Wildlife Corridor priority area, a critical area for the movement of wildlife under I-49.
According to a news release, the Breeze Bluffs property features over 3,700 feet of stream including two main tributaries and several springs. The streams are part of the Upper Frog Bayou watershed and flow into Lake Fort Smith, a drinking water source to over 200,000 residents in the Fort Smith area. The property is mostly oak-hickory forest and includes east, north and southwest facing slopes, with multiple rock outcroppings and caves creating a variety of microclimates and habitat types.
“It is in a very wild and native condition since my parents never really made any changes to it while they owned it,” Breeze said. “I love the elevation changes, the diversity of the flora and fauna, and the major attraction is the string of waterfalls and pools that are spring fed. They start small, but by the last one, there’s a 20-foot waterfall with a swimming pool-sized swimming hole there.”
One of the property’s notable benefits is the preservation of scenic views along Highway 71, further enhancing its scenic value.
“The diverse wildlife and terrain made it very obvious that it needed protection from development,” Breeze said. “The northwest portion of Arkansas is under a lot of pressure to develop, which will create pressure for suburban sprawl to the south of the Fayetteville area. Having conservation easements in place will help to minimize those intrusions in this section of the Ozarks.”
Breeze Bluffs is NWALT’s 44th protected property and takes the total acres protected by the group to 7,495.
“We are so thankful to Bob for creating a land legacy that will stand the test of time,” NWALT executive director Grady Spann said. “Bob’s commitment to permanent land protection ensures a future where clean water, fresh air, access to outdoor recreation, and locally grown fruits and vegetables remain an integral part of everyday life in Northwest Arkansas.”
Spann said Breeze Bluffs is an important next step in the group’s #10K4NWA. That is an effort to reach the milestone of 10,000 acres of land under permanent protection in Northwest Arkansas.