Conservation and Preservation Stewards of land and water
So many of us have special memories of the places we grew up. And this Sense of Place defines who we are as people and how we relate to the physical world around us. Having lived in many places during my 51 years on the planet, I realize that my upbringing in Fayetteville, Arkansas, planted the seeds of conservation stewardship in my soul. Canoeing on the Buffalo River, Kings River, and Mulberry River during spring time and boating on Beaver Lake, Table Rock Lake and Lake Ouachita during the summers, and hiking and camping in the Ozark Mountains provided ample outdoor fun and connections to family, friends, and nature.
These naturally gorgeous places were part of our family’s everyday life. The water from our tap was always fresh and the lakes and rivers always seemed to have enough water in them. Of course, back in the 1970s, there were only about 25,000 people living in Fayetteville. Our quaint town was just announced as the #4 top place to live, which draws more people to the area. And now with a population of 89,540 in the city and 29,068 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Arkansas, this little hamlet of a town is bursting at the seams! Many more students than ever before from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas grace the UofA campus. We hope they gain a sense of pride and conservation of their adoptive state, as they natives that grew up here possess.
Visit my Floating the Buffalo River for more early pictures and memories.
While we welcome everyone to our beautiful state and are so proud of our Razorback sports legacy, it’s the abundance of untouched forests and pristine water ways that have been drawing visitors to The Natural State for years. But with the population surge and people who are not natives to our state moving here, these natural areas could become compromised.
There are many organizations that are trying to preserve the land and water sheds of our beloved natural state, and Northwest Arkansas, in particular. One is The Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association that my father, Dr. Pete Heinzelmann helped start in 2003. There will be a full article blog on the beginnings of this impactful organization in my next post. But check out their website linked above, and make a donation today.
Another organization is The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, headed by the compassionate and talented Terri Arthur Lane, one of my Fayetteville friends and long time Fayetteville native. She and her team at NWA Land Trust have dedicated their time, talent, and treasures to educating people about the importance of saving and preserving land. They work with local citizens and businesses to obtain land for present and future generations. The aim of keeping animal habitat and water sheds intact benefits all of us.
The article linked to Terri’s name above was written in February 2020, and it chronicles her upbringing in the Ozark hills around Fayetteville and her path to becoming a strong advocate for preserving land. Read the article and check out the wonderful video of her linked there.
For all you lovely Oklahoma and Texas friends driving north on Interstate 49 to Fayetteville (probably to take your child to the UofA of see a Hog game), the NWA Land Trust Team was proactive in saving 700+ acres of gorgeous (in any season) landscape just to the north of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel. This scenic byway is just one of the areas that has been preserved for animal habitat and aids in the clean waterways we all enjoy. They have protected this ‘viewscape’ for future generations.
Below are some Fayetteville natural areas I’ve hiked in and taken pictures of over recent years. My spirit is always restored and perspective put back in balance after visiting these natural places. They are there to help reset, reconsider, realign, and rebound when life challenges us.
I remember my parents telling me a story about an Arkansas woman who took a case all the way to the Supreme Court to keep billboards off this pristine highway, so they wouldn’t block the pristine Ozark panorama. And now there are billboards sneaking in on the southern part of the I-49. It takes all of us to speak up for nature and conservation. At the end of the day, we can’t eat money/oil/gas/billboards. It’s the land and water sheds we live on that supports all our livelihoods, and now we have another way to protect these beautiful places.
If you love these natural places and enjoy visiting Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas, please make a commitment to protect them. All of us working together can preserve this natural paradise for present and future generations. Add your voice and make a donation today…
Northwest Arkansas Land Trust Donation
Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association (FNHA) Donation
Share your favorite places and where you and your families like to spend time together in nature… I’d love to hear your stories. So proud of Terri and the NWA Land Trust for their dedication to preserving and conserving land and water for present and future generations.
Happy Trails to you and yours,
Sarah Heinzelmann Andersen
2 Comments Add yours
Sarah, This is a great story that highlights and congratulates people who have been leaders in the efforts to preserve natural outdoor spaces in Arkansas. You could get a job the ArkansasTourist Department!
Love, Mom& Dad
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Haha… that would be a fun career!