Nature Conservancy acquires over 1,400 acres near Buffalo River

Council Rock Forrest / Courtesy photo

Folks who enjoy the Buffalo River area of Arkansas will soon have some new land to explore.

The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas (TNC) recently announced the purchase of 1,425 forested acres on a mountain near Mount Judea along Big Creek, which flows into the Buffalo River.

The conservancy purchased the land for $700,000 from the family of Jonah Eliot, a traveling physician from Michigan that fell in love with the area when he was working in Arkansas in the 1950s. Jonah’s adult children approached the conservancy about purchasing the property, and discounted the price significantly in honor of Eliot’s wishes that it be preserved.

The land, known as Council Rock Forrest, is home to three rare bat species: the northern long-eared bat, Indiana bat, and gray bat, which played into the conservancy’s decision to purchase the property.

The group is working with the Buffalo River Foundation (BRF), a local land trust, to conserve the property.

“This conservation acquisition is a great example of landowners in the Buffalo River watershed working in practical ways to conserve the natural resources and cultural heritage of the Buffalo River watershed,” said Mike Mills, Buffalo River Foundation board member.

The Nature Conservancy and The Buffalo River Foundation will spend the next year learning about the property, and working with neighbors and interested organizations to begin developing land management and visitor use plans.

“Council Rock Forest has been a special place for people for generations,” said Scott Simon, director of The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas. “We are honored to be a part of its history and look forward to working with our neighbors and other organizations on the future of this great place.”

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