New Trail Dedicated at Warren Prairie Natural Area
Natural area adds new nature trail and 937 acres to Warren Prairie Natural Area.
On Tuesday, November 1, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC), an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) dedicated a new nature trail at Warren Prairie Natural Area. The trail is 2.2 miles long and showcases the diverse habitats and species that make the area special. ANHC and Potlatch Corporation also signed an agreement for ANHC to acquire 937 acres from Potlatch and add it to the natural area.
Beginning in the 1980s, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and The Nature Conservancy started working at Warren Prairie in Bradley and Drew counties with a vision to conserve a functional landscape that encompassed the many diverse habitats. Through a series of land purchases, the preserve has now grown to over 5000 acres and is one of the largest conservation areas in the state.
“Working together, we have not only conserved thousands of acres for people to enjoy, but managed the land to show that forest managers can produce high quality wildlife habitat and conserve rare species,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “All of this is possible while generating economic return for local communities through continuation of forestry management and reintroduction of prescribed fire to the landscape.”
Warren Prairie is ecologically significant for a variety of reasons. It supports the largest and highest quality examples of saline barrens and prairies in the Coastal Plain. Made up of a mosaic of salt slicks, pine flatwoods and woodlands, saline barrens, post oak flatwoods, Warren Prairie supports a unique population of plants and animals. This includes the endangered plant, Geocarpon minimum, an endangered bird, the red-cockaded woodpecker, and Arkansas’s most significant population of wintering Henslow’s Sparrows.
“This place is a great example of the power of Arkansas’s conservation style. Working with partners, ANHC has not only conserved thousands of acres for the public to enjoy, but have timber management, hunting, and endangered species management all occurring in one place. It’s a great tribute to the cooperative style of the people of south Arkansas,” said Scott Simon, director of the Nature Conservancy in Arkansas.
Warren Prairie is open to the public for hiking, exploring and bow hunting. For more information, visit www.naturalheritage.com.
The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission was established in 1973 to identify and protect the state’s remaining high-quality natural communities. To protect the “best of the last,” the Commission manages a System of 71 Natural Areas that encompasses more than 63,000 acres and maintains data on the status of rare species and natural communities in Arkansas.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.