Conservancy scientists, volunteers and partners monitoring plants at Miller County Sandhills Natural Area.
Scientists at Miller County Sandhills Conservancy scientists, volunteers and partners monitoring plants at Miller County Sandhills Natural Area. © Scott Simon/The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Arkansas

Miller County Sandhills

This natural area is named for its deep deposits of alluvial sand.

Miller County Sandhills is one of the few remaining sandhill sites in Arkansas. The sand was deposited along the ancient Gulf of Mexico shoreline over 150 million years ago by rivers flowing from the Ouachita Mountains. The deep sands create a dry, drought-prone habitat composed of sparse, open-grown oak trees and grass. Miller County Sandhills harbors several rare plants specially adapted to the areas of deepest sands. Beautiful spring wildflower displays peak in early June. 

Location
Miller County in southwest Arkansas 

Size
184 acres. Includes property owned by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and The Nature Conservancy, and additional land under conservation management. 

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Miller County Sandhills is considered the largest and best example known in Arkansas of the Northeast Texas sandhill woodland/sand barrens community. 

Prior to protection as a natural area, many of the old trees had been removed. Part of the site was cultivated and grazed, and a portion was planted in loblolly pine. These past disturbances changed the structure of the sandhill plant community; however, the original components of the community remained. 

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Fire has been reintroduced as an important ecological process in maintaining the naturally occurring sandhill structure and species. Miller County Sandhills is now recovering from past disturbances, with young bluejack and margaretta oaks growing throughout the site and the understory supporting grasses and forbs typical of the sandhill community. Ecological restoration is ongoing.

View Wildflowers
Among the spring flowers to see are:

  • sandhill spiderwort
  • evening primrose
  • pinewoods lily
  • sandhill twistflower
  • butterfly weed 

Major tree species at Miller County Sandhills are bluejack oak and margaretta oak. 

Twenty-one plant species listed as Arkansas Special Plants have been found at Miller County Sandhills. Four of these—climbing milkweed, little-leaved prairie clover, hairy grama and tragia—are found nowhere else in Arkansas. One other, prairie clover, is known from only one other site in the state. 

Download a species list

Look and Listen for Animals
A variety of migratory and resident bird species, such as vireos, warblers, sparrows, woodpeckers, and thrushes can be found on the preserve. Numerous kinds of butterflies can also be observed among the wildflowers. 

Download a species list

Miller County Sandhills consists of mostly open woodlands with gently rolling terrain. There are no marked trails.

Sturdy hiking shoes and insect repellant are recommended. Carry plenty of drinking water.