The Nature Conservancy Acquires Mt. Judea Area Mountaintop for New Nature Preserve

Conservation groups work with private landowners to conserve 1,425 acres to protect the Buffalo River.

Mt. Judea, AR

The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas (TNC) recently purchased 1,425 forested acres on a mountain near Mt Judea along Big Creek, which flows into the Buffalo River.  The new nature preserve, known as Council Rock Forest, 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 (BRF), a local land trust, are working together to fundraise for and conserve the property.  

“This conservation acquisition is a great example of landowners in the Buffalo River watershed working in practical ways to conserve the natural resources and cultural heritage of the Buffalo River watershed,” stated Mike Mills, Buffalo River Foundation board member.

The property 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 TNC to fulfill the wishes of their late father to conserve the property.

“Council Rock Forest has been a special place for people for generations,” said Scott Simon, director of The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas. “We are honored to be a part of its history and look forward to working with our neighbors and other organizations on the future of this great place.”

After learning more about the property and opportunities over the next year, TNC and BRF will work with neighbors and interested organizations to develop land management and visitor use plans. Visit and to learn more and support this conservation effort and others like it in Arkansas.


The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas has been working proactively with private landowners, businesses, local communities and other organizations to conserve and restore the lands and waters of the Natural State for people to enjoy for more than 30 years. Visit The Nature Conservancy at

The Buffalo River Foundation is a nonprofit land trust which acquires conservation easements and land within the Buffalo River watershed from interested landowners. Its mission is to conserve for public benefit the natural, recreational, scenic, historical and productive values of the Buffalo National River. Visit the Buffalo River Foundation at

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 or follow @nature_press on Twitter.