The Buffalo National River is changing. Only eleven percent of the river's watershed is within the National Park. Many important parcels of land are unprotected and subject to adverse land use and development threats. BRF can help protect land near the river while also helping to maintain the river's water quality and scenic beauty with targeted easements and purchases. The Buffalo River Foundation seeks easements on these parcels in order to accomplish the following goals:
National Park Boundary Limitations. In 1972, Congress passed the law creating the Buffalo National River. This law specified that the park would have 95,730 acres, and no more. The 1972 boundary and the limit on acreage remain today. The lands near the park are changing, reducing the rural wilderness experience within the park while use and development of private lands adjacent to the park boundaries continue to expand. Today we know the 1972 boundary will not be enough to protect the river's values and visitor experience into the future. For instance, many historic and ecologically important sites are located just outside the boundary, and there is barely room for recreational trails within the narrow park boundaries. Development from various sources is diminishing the wilderness experience from the river's gravel bars and encroaching on views of the river. BRF can negotiate directly with landowners to protect these important areas and developwin-win solutions for conservation opportunities.
Watershed Concerns. The Buffalo National River comprises only a small portions of the river's drainage (see watershed map). The river's water quality depends upon the quality of its watershed outside of the park's boundaries. The National Park Service and other agencies monitor water quality in the river and its numerous tributaries. BRF can work with private landowners on creative easements and fee title arrangements that include maintenance of a home site, farming or other income producing activities. Or, the land can remain undeveloped, as a nature preserve.
Photo/Courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism