Places We Protect


Council Rock Forest Preserve

Ricketts Mountain, Arkansas.
Ricketts Mountain Ricketts Mountain, Arkansas. © The Nature Conservancy

Helping to conserve critical bat habitat and the Buffalo River watershed.





Council Rock Forest Preserve is 1,425 forested acres on a mountain near Mt. Judea along Big Creek, which flows into the Buffalo River. The nature preserve is home to three rare bat species: the northern long-eared bat, Indiana bat, and gray bat. The Nature Conservancy and the Buffalo River Foundation, a local land trust, are working together to conserve the property.

The preserve has an interesting history. Dr. Johan and Mrs. Frances Eliot, from Michigan, spent several decades assembling properties which now comprise Council Rock Forest. Dr. Eliot first encountered the area and its beauty during his work in the 1950s as a traveling public health physician for the State of Arkansas.

The preserve includes a historic log home built by Peter Campbell in the early 1900’s. Many residents of the valley below the mountain descend from Mr. Campbell including his youngest son, Loyd, who was born in the cabin in 1938 and still lives nearby. Neighbors remember the Eliots fondly for restoring the homestead and allowing it to be a place to gather, learn and enjoy. The Eliot’s adult children approached the Conservancy to fulfill the wishes of their late father to conserve the property.

After learning more about the property and potential recreational opportunities, The Conservancy and Buffalo River Foundation will work with neighbors and interested organizations to develop land management and visitor use plans. It is open to the public to visit and explore, but at this time there is no signage, established parking area or trails.


This property was funded through a generous grant from the Conservation Fund and many generous donors, but more is needed. In order to maintain and manage the property and implement positive conservation practices, we need help from donors like you. To learn more about this project, contact Jennifer Barnhouse at j.a.barnhouse@TNC.ORG or (501) 614-5091. For more information or support other projects like this one visit



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