Appeals Court Denies State's Claim to Poinsett County Island

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Court of Appeals has denied the state's claims of ownership of a small island in the St. Francis River in Poinsett County.

Hatchie Coon Hunting and Fishing Club purchased a 700-acre tract of lant by patent from the state in 1892.  The property in question, near Marked Tree, was part of that purchase.

The club brought suit in 2001 against three duck hunters over the operation of duck blinds on its property.  According to court documents, the state did not voluntarily join the case but was made a party to the case at the request of the duck-hunter defendants.

The appeals court yesterday affirmed a trial court decision that the island was created by accretion to the hunting club's property along the river, as opposed to accretion to the riverbed, which would have made it state property.

The ruling says evidence supports a finding that the cypress trees present on the island could not have thrived unless the ground in which they germinated and first grew was above the water line, in other words, they did not form on property that was part of the riverbed.

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