With the 2001-2002 duck season fast approaching, Arkansas hunters will be pleased with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s purchase of the Schaeffer’s Eddy property near the Dave Donaldson/Black River Wildlife Management Area in northeast Arkansas. In an agreement finalized today, the purchase guarantees much-needed access to hunters in an area where access has been very limited.
Controversy has surrounded the Schaeffer’s Eddy property for close to a decade resulting in a lengthy court battle. In a compromise reached between the agency and the landowner, the AGFC has purchased the property and existing improvements for $100,000. “What we wanted to do was ensure the protection of this unique property that has been in my family for generations. Director Durham assures me that this is not only possible, but will be a priority for agency staff in this part of the state. The assurance of the preservation of the site and its historical significance were key factors in my decision to sell this property,” said landowner Gary Gazaway. Dr. Julie Morrow, Station Archeologist with Arkansas State University, added, “…land leveling and development are a constant threat to the archeological record. This purchase will allow for the protection of one of the more important sites in east Arkansas.”
“The benefit of the purchase is two-fold: it will enable sporting enthusiasts access to the Black River, and also allow for the preservation of the rare cultural and natural heritage of the area,” said Hugh Durham, director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Agency staff is busy planning future improvements to the access area. “For the coming duck season, we will move the fencing to allow a better traffic flow and put down a good gravel bed on the road and launching site. For the 2002-2003 duck season, hunters can expect to see substantial improvements including a boat ramp,” added Durham.
This year’s duck season opens statewide on November 17th, 2001.