Wasson family donation triples size of Flint Creek Headwaters Preserve

BENTON COUNTY, AR - The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) announced today the recent donation of 67 acres by the family of John Wasson, who was born and raised in Springtown, AR, and spent his youth surrounded by the natural

beauty of the headwaters of Flint Creek. Wasson was responsible for the beginnings of what is now Flint Creek Headwaters Preserve in Springtown and his family decided to honor his vision for perpetual protection of the area by donating most of the remaining

Wasson property to NWALT, more than tripling the size of the Flint Creek Preserve.

Although John Wasson left Arkansas to pursue a career as a geochemist in Los Angeles, he returned every year to wade in Flint Creek and enjoy being in the lush forests surrounding it. Eventually, he would become a professor at UCLA,

where he was recognized as a world expert on meteorites. In the last decade of his life, Wasson became passionate about protecting the headwaters of Flint Creek so that others could enjoy the clear waters, limestone cliffs, and dense canopy of overhanging

trees that his family had for decades. He donated the creek property he inherited from his parents as well adjacent property he purchased near the Highway 12 bridge to NWALT. This was the start of Flint Creek Headwaters Preserve.

John Wasson died in September 2020, and his family decided to honor his vision by donating the remaining Wasson property to NWALT. This donation more than triples the size of the Preserve to 87 acres. "My favorite memories of my

father are his eyes twinkling as he waded Flint Creek with me, always curious about the fish and birds and trees along the way," remarked his daughter, Kerstin. "He would be so glad to know that others can continue to enjoy the creek and nearby habitats and

that these places will remain the same as in his childhood, even as development expands in Northwest Arkansas."

The newly donated land will allow access to Flint Creek Headwaters Preserve from Springtown's Main Street as well as from the existing parking area on Peach Blossom Lane. There are plans for a path along the former Highway 12 to

connect these so that a longer hike can be taken through the riparian habitat. According to daughter Christina Wasson, "My grandmother, Ruth Taylor Wasson Brooks, liked to walk this path to her favorite swimming hole. I'm glad it will be maintained for future


"It's places like Flint Creek Headwaters Preserve that protect so much of what makes Northwest Arkansas special, said Pam Nelson, NWALT Director of Land Protection. "NWALT is honored to be part of the Wasson family legacy through

this generous donation. It enhances wildlife habitat, protects water quality in the Illinois River Watershed, and preserves a way of life where people can easily get outside to connect with nature and each other."

NWALT invites the public to explore the existing trail and the Springtown Heritage Loop. Flint Creek Headwaters Preserve is the anchor of the Springtown Heritage Loop, which also includes a historic homesite and Springtown Methodist

Church, which are both sites along a recognized Civil War Trail.

About Northwest Arkansas Land Trust

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is the region's first local and accredited land trust, dedicated to enhancing the quality of life through the permanent protection of land. By holding and managing donated land and providing conservation

easement services, the Land Trust protects water quality, local farms, wildlife habitats, and places for outdoor recreation while enhancing the quality of life for today and future generations. The service area of the Land Trust includes 13 counties in Northwest

Arkansas, with a core focus on Benton, Washington, Madison, and Carroll counties. For more information, visit the land trust's website at www.nwalandtrust.org.

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