Historic Johnson Farm Gains Full Protection!
Over 5 years ago, we began our search for land.
We wanted to try and make ripples with our choice of home, and share what we learn. (See our FAQ’s first question “What is Ripples?”)
Our purpose? To protect that land as stewards living sustainably off-grid (see how we’re off-grid here). Many detours later, we’re excited to announce that we’ve found that place to protect and have been living here in the historic farmhouse since October 2015. Thanks to the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, the Historic Johnson Farm is permanently protected through a conservation easement! You can find their public announcement here.
What’s a Conservation Easement?
Sometimes a landowner wants to protect something on their land (ecological, historical, cultural, whatever – it can be working farms, or wildlife, or important drinking water sources, or the beautiful view). An organization like a land trust wants to protect that land, too. So they work with the landowner to write down what the landowner wants done (and NOT done) on their land in the future. Then they all sign a legal agreement that stays with the land forever, even if it is sold or inherited multiple times. The land trust is legally responsible for protecting that land from anything that might threaten it in the future, such as new real estate development, and they must also inspect the property each year to keep it healthy and ensure it’s being maintained according to the rules the landowner made in the conservation easement. They take on the legal fees for protecting the land in court if someone should intend to harm the land anytime in the future. They also may have special projects like stream restoration or invasive species removal, to keep the land in great condition.
On December 29th, 2016, the lovely landowner and our friend, Anne Prichard, along with her son Tim Dallett, both signed a conservation easement with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. This ensures that the historic and ecological value of the farm will remain undisturbed, and protects the water quality of our region. We are so excited to continue working with the NWA Land Trust and all the people and organizations protecting Mt. Kessler as a whole!
Ripples Progress Update
Trail Maintenance and Wildlife Projects
Once upon a time, wagons used to travel around Mt. Kessler. This old wagon road contains a stone chapel foundation, water well, and the remains of a stone bridge across the creek. A rock fence remains intact along most of one side of the gravel road, but has mostly disappeared into the woods along the wagon road. We’ve been clearing fallen limbs, brush, and rocks from the path, and plan to cut out the honeysuckle bushes lining both sides of the road.
We’re also getting ready to count froggy peeps and toad croaks at Pear Pond for FrogWatch, and help fledglings take flight from old orchard fields with NestWatch, two examples of citizen science projects. Stay tuned for details on how you can get involved as a volunteer!