State Announces new 16,000-Acre Wildlife Area

NOVEMBER 22, 2006 - Posted at 8:00 a.m. CST

HAMPTON, Ark. (AP) - Hunters, birdwatchers and hikers will have access to 16-thousand acres in south Arkansas through a private-public partnership that will create a new state wildlife management area. Officials said yesterday that, among the wildlife living on the land, mostly in Calhoun County, is the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Potlatch, based in Spokane, Washington, owns the property and agreed with state officials to sell conservation easements on the acreage that is mostly in Calhoun County. The land is covered mostly with loblolly-shortleaf pine.

The site will become the Moro Big Pine Wildlife Management Area, and is scheduled to open in July 2007.

The $6.7 million dollar purchase should be finalized by the end of the year. Purchasing the easements allows the state to pay about a third of what it normally would to own the property outright, according to the state Game and Fish Commission.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)