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BEEBE – Thanks to a partnership with The Trust for Public Land and the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has added 975 acres of access for hunters to Cypress Bayou Wildlife Management Area in White County, boosting that WMA to approximately 2,638 acres of publicly accessible wildlife habitat.

The property, much of which had already been enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program, was initially purchased by TPL with the intention of ultimately being sold to the AGFC once funding could be allocated. The purchase was then conveyed to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in two transactions, the second of which was completed last Friday.

Stacey Shankle with TPL says the land’s proximity to Little Rock made it an excellent fit for their mission.

“Our nonprofit organization’s mission is to reconnect people with the land and nature,” Shankle said. “Because this was so close to a major population center, it will be able to further that mission immensely.”

The Arkansas Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation also stepped up to help fund the effort, contributing $100,000 of the $2.9 million purchase price for the area. These funds were derived from the sales of NWTF state license plates found on vehicles throughout Arkansas.

The rest of the funds to purchase the land came by way of federal Wildlife Restoration Fund derived through the Pittman-Robertson Act, which places an excise tax on firearms and ammunition manufacturers for the purpose of wildlife conservation. The transfer from TPL was at a bargain sale price, and the difference between the land’s actual cost and appraised value was used to help match the state’s requirement in the federal reimbursement.

The addition is on the north and west portions of Cypress

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