Hikers walk past a mossy rock outcropping

An Emerald Necklace for Fayetteville

The newest jewel in the Fayetteville Parks System creates an emerald necklace of protected forest in the center of town

Ten acres of forested land in the center of Fayetteville has been set aside as public park, enlarging the protected natural area on Markham Hill and making way for a key link in the city’s soft-surface trail network. Last week, the City of Fayetteville accepted Specialized Real Estate Group’s dedication of 10.1 acres of new city park land on Markham Hill. This land will serve as a front door to a large park on the northwest side of Markham Hill and provide an important link in the Fayetteville Traverse, a 22-mile soft-surface trail network linking downtown Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas with Mount Kessler.

A group of girls walk on a trail through woods. One girl wears a vest with several girl scout badges

Washington County Girl Scounts hike on Markham Hill in October 2021.

The development approval process in Fayetteville requires residential developments to set aside land for parks or pay into a parks fund. The 10.1 acre park land dedication approved last Monday – land zoned for high-density development – is roughly five times the acreage required to meet the requirement. Not only will this land provide habitat and trail linkages, it also may be used as a neighborhood park for the surrounding University Heights Neighborhood.

In addition to park land, a large portion of SREG’s Markham Hill development is set aside for conservation easement. This nature preserve area combined with new and existing city park land will create a forested greenspace of more than 114 contiguous acres in central Fayetteville.

“This land dedication reaffirms our commitment to preserving habitat and facilitating public access to the natural areas on Markham Hill,” said Jeremy Hudson, Specialized CEO.  “The hill is a destination for trail runners, Girl Scouts, and student researchers, and it will be for years to come.”

More about protected greenspace on Markham Hill
A man and his daughter walk in a forest with yellow fall leaves

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