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Calion Lumber donates 2,900-acre easement to conserve old-growth forest along Ouachita River

Press release from Nature Conservancy | January 25, 2008

Calion Lumber Company donated to the Conservancy a 2,900-acre conservation easement. The easement, located north of Camden in Ouachita County, includes six miles of frontage along both sides of the lower Ouachita River.

Roger Mangham, director of conservation programs for the Conservancy, said the area is best described as an old-growth, mature bottomland hardwood forest.

“The place is absolutely beautiful,” Mangham said. “There are some enormous trees there. This is a place that provides habitat for animals like deer, turkey and black bear. And its location on either side of the Ouachita River will help maintain water quality for the river’s aquatic species, which inclue rare fish and mussels, and for people, too.”

Outside of the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge located near the Louisiana border, Mangham said there aren’t any other major conservation projects along the lower Ouachita River in Arkansas.

“I bought this land for Calion in 1958,” said Charlie Thomas, vice president of Calion Lumber, a business his family owns. “When I purchased the land, I knew I was purchasing one of the Natural State’s finest treasures. I wanted to ensure the land remains natural and is well managed, which is why we decided to donate an easement to The Nature Conservancy.”

“Charlie and Calion Lumber have been such good stewards of this land,” said Scott Simon, director of the Conservancy in Arkansas. “We are honored they chose The Nature Conservancy to be a partner on their property.”

The Conservancy, working with Calion Lumber Company, will develop a conservation forestry management plan that will focus on the sustainable harvest of timber on 1,900 acres of the property. The remaining 1,000 acres – according to Thomas’ goals – will not be cut.

The land, which remains the property of Calion Lumber, is still being used by the company and family and will not be open for public use. The Conservancy is planning field trips to the site for its members and partners.

editors note A conservation easement is a voluntary restriction placed on a piece of property by the landowner to conserve its habitat or open space values. While it is a legally binding agreement that limits certain types of uses or prevents development from taking place now and in the future, the landowner retains all other rights of ownership.

Article has been adapted from a news release issued by Nature Conservancy.

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