The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has authorized th agency to enter into an agreement with The Nature Conservancy to purchase 550 acres of property joining two sections of McIlroy Madison County Wildlife Management Area north of Huntsville.
The property, which includes a large portion of Rockhouse Creek, a tributary of the Kings River, was purchased by The Nature Conservancy with the intent to restore the connection between the two bodies of water and improve habitat for public benefit.
During the last three years, The Nature Conservancy has restored more than 2,500 feet of creek bed. The conservancy wants to sell the property to Game and Fish to ensure the public can enjoy it for generations to come.
“It also joins the Kings River at the Rockhouse access,” said Mike Cantrell, Game and Fish operations chief. “It will provide areas for Arkansans to enjoy the outdoors, additional hunting opportunities and to see some of the great work that can be done.”
Commission Director AustinBooth spoke at the April commission meeting about the purchase and the opportunity to add more access for public use.
“Well, going forward our land acquisitions will have to meet three priorities: one, be good, high-quality lands that will provide meaningful conservation opportunity; two, that it be an inholding that is going to join an existing wildlife management area; and three, that it will have little to no infrastructure need going forward. This meets those priorities absolutely perfectly, and I’m excited to see folks in Northwest Arkansas and all throughout the state enjoy that wildlife management area more fully.”
The acquisition costs $1.65 million, which is well below the appraised value of the property, thanks to a discounted sale price offered by The Nature Conservancy in this partnership.