Land added to Frog Bayou area
Expands hunting, birding opportunities in Crawford County
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has completed the purchase of land surrounding the Frog Bayou Wildlife Management Area in Crawford County.
The deal almost triples the size of the waterfowl-hunting and wildlife-viewing destination. Game and Fish had pursued the purchase of 1,390 acres adjacent to Frog Bayou for many years.
The property does not drain well, making it too difficult and unpredictable to farm consistently. Its natural hydrology, however, makes it ideal for the restoration of high-quality wildlife habitat, particularly moist-soil habitats for waterfowl and other migrating birds.
“Frog Bayou is one of the few public duck hunting areas in the west-central to northwest part of the state, so it has been extremely popular since its establishment,” said Luke Naylor, Game and Fish waterfowl program coordinator. “Expanding it has been a high priority, but many complications with multiple ownerships surrounding the property had made it difficult to pursue until recently.”
Game and Fish worked with The Trust for Public Land to make the purchase possible. The trust secured a purchase agreement with the landowner and conveyed it to Game and Fish as grant funding became available. This enabled Game and Fish to go through the proper channels to secure Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funds.
The total price was $4.54 million, 75 percent of which was brought in through Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funds.
“Those funds are brought in through excise taxes on sporting goods and firearms purchases,” said Matt Warriner, Game and Fish assistant chief of wildlife management. “This is exactly how the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was designed to be used 80 years ago. The people who use the resource help pay to protect it and establish new public lands to pursue their passion through their equipment purchases. As a result, the wildlife benefits from increased habitat, and everyone who wishes to use the property benefits from increased access.”
Naylor said the area not only offers excellent waterfowl-hunting possibilities, but for years many local bird-watching enthusiasts have been making use of Frog Bayou.
“A lot of people are driving from Fayetteville to the area,” Naylor said. “The managers consistently see many students who waterfowl hunt there in the morning and are still able to make it to afternoon classes. Birding groups also make day-trips out there to look for wetland birds and Neotropical migrant birds in spring and fall.”
Stacey Shankle, senior project manager for The Trust for Public Land, said the Frog Bayou expansion is exactly the sort of project that his organization looks for to help improve public access to the outdoors.
“It really takes partnerships to make these sorts of positive impacts for the public at this scale,” Shankle said.
David Oakley spotted a dragonfly last fall at Frog Bayou Wildlife Management Area. The state Game and Fish Commission recently bought 1,390 acres adjacent to the area.