The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC), in cooperation with the Arkansas Field Office of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently purchased 1,375 acres in Benton County known as “Devil’s Eyebrow.” The area, located between state highway 62 and Beaver Lake, has been identified as ecologically significant for Arkansas since the 1920s and today hosts more than 550 documented plant species, including 27 plants of state conservation concern and five that are globally rare. The site is frequented by wintering Bald Eagles and is the only known location in Arkansas for the rare black maple tree.
“This purchase is the first phase of plans to ultimately acquire 1,952 acres of bluffs, creeks, springs, and glades,” said Karen Smith, director of ANHC. “We are excited about the conservation benefits of this property and new outdoor recreation opportunities for all Arkansans to enjoy. We will be working closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to have a wildlife management area open for hunting and other activities next year.”
A portion of the property borders the Indian Creek arm of Beaver Lake, including three miles of undeveloped shoreline with beautiful lake views. Conserving the site as a natural area will help to protect the water quality of Beaver Lake which is a major drinking water source for northwest Arkansas.
Scott Simon, director of TNC in Arkansas, explained, “This acquisition is the culmination of great work by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission staff to protect the last large undeveloped tract of forested land around Beaver Lake. We were happy to play a role with many other partners.”
Devil’s Eyebrow Natural Area will be the 71st site in the state’s System of Natural Areas managed by the ANHC. Each natural area has a specific conservation vision and management plan. A plan for Devil’s Eyebrow will be developed in cooperation with partners over the winter. Plans for public use will be finalized during this process. Funding for this acquisition was provided through a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council and Arkansas’s 1/8 Cent Conservation Sales Tax.
For more information about the System of Natural Areas and the ANHC, visit the agency’s website at www.naturalheritage.com. The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission shares the goal of all seven Department of Arkansas Heritage agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. The agencies are Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.