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ANHC Dedicates Hall's Creek Canyon Natural Area

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Thursday, November 21, 2019

The ANHC dedicated Hall’s Creek Canyon Natural Area (NA) in Randolph County during a ceremony at the natural area on November 5. Thanks to a generous donation by Louis and Sandra Decker, the 33-acre property has been added to the statewide System of Natural Areas.

Located within the Central Plateau of the Ozark Highlands, Hall’s Creek Canyon NA provides direct protection of a portion of Hall Creek, a tributary of Janes Creek. The natural area includes a narrow and deeply-incised, bluff-walled canyon with approximately 260 feet of local relief and a variety of geologic features. Canyons of this sort are especially uncommon in this part of the Ozarks, which is generally less rugged and more gently rolling than other ecoregions to the west and south.

“This site is rich in natural and historical heritage, having been visited since the 1800s by those attracted to its natural springs,” Stacy Hurst, secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism said. “We are grateful to Louis and Sandra Decker for their generous gift to the citizens of Arkansas.”

Several natural communities are represented at Hall’s Creek Canyon NA, which is home to the only known site in Arkansas for the wall-rue spleenwort (Ascplenium ruta-muraria), a rare fern of vertical cliff faces, as well as the Current Darter (Etheostoma uniporum), a regionally endemic fish. The natural area is also known for its important historical features including many springs, for which the town of Ravenden Springs was named. Various caves/bluff overhangs at the area were used by early residents and local legend claims that one of these caves, known as “school cave,” is the site of Arkansas’s first free school.

The donation of the property that is now Hall’s Creek Canyon NA was fostered between the Deckers, and historical and natural conservation leaders in the local community, including Bud Compton of Ravenden Springs, Bill Carroll of Pocahontas, and former ANHC Director Darrell Bowman. Hall’s Creek Canyon NA is open to the public for hiking, exploring, and bird watching.

Photos:  Top -- Dolomite cliff at Hall's Creek Canyon Natural Area. Photo by Brent Baker.

Middle -- Current Darter (Etheostoma uniporum), a regionally endemic fish, at Hall's Creek Canyon Natural Area. Photo by Dustin Lynch.

Bottom -- The ribbon cutting ceremony at the dedication of Hall's Creek Canyon Natural Area on November 5, 2019. Pictured left to right -- Former Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) Director, Darrell Bowman; Five Rivers Historic Preservation Board member, Pamela Carr; ANHC Director, Bill Holimon; Local Historian, Bud Compton; Ravenden Springs Mayor, John Cochran; Secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, Stacy Hurst; and Commission Chair, Robby Bevis. Photo by Ruthie Berryhill.

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