Wooded Prairie

More than 1,300 acres of Prairie County sold in a $600,000 year-end deal that only recently hit the courthouse records.

Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation acquired the land, which appraised for $965,000, from The University of Arkansas Foundation Inc. and The Nature Conservancy.

The property was donated to the two groups by Arkansas Power & Light Co., led by Drake Keith. The 1,377 acres was envisioned at one time to house a future power plant.

The land, located about three miles north of Interstate 40 between Des Arc and DeVall's Bluff, will be added to the adjoining Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area. It consists of about 900 acres of bottomland hardwoods along the White River and 400 acres of plantation pine.

"This is a piece of property the commission has wanted to acquire for 20 years," says Steve Smith, director of the Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation.

The foundation came up with most of the money through a hodge-podge of sources: proceeds from Outdoor Hall of Fame events, donations, unclaimed license turnback funds and a $246,000 pollution settlement from Medallion Foods in Newport. A $150,000 loan from The Nature Conservancy rounded out the purchase price.