2017 – A Year to Connect!

People, land, resources, wildlife . . . these are all areas in which we can connect, and this year we are going to highlight each of these areas as we work together to make this the best year yet for protecting the Ozarks and our natural resources!

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Connecting People with the Land

People make land worth protecting. It is the knowledge that years, decades, if not centuries from now people will still be enjoying the natural land which we have saved for them. This protected land is for those not yet born as much as it is for those of us here now. It is for those who love every sound of the songbird in the wind, and every sight and scent of the flowers in the prairies. It is even for those who might have forgotten just how important it is to sustaining all life as they go about their lives perhaps never knowing its true beauty and worth.

It is our mission to not only protect land for the sake of the land and all it sustains, but to also connect people to the land. Whether it’s a large family farm owned for 100 years or a tiny park in the center of a township, we want you to know what land means to the people who get to enjoy it the most. The urge to enjoy the green space nearest you is sure to follow.

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Thank you! Nearly $24,000 Raised in ORLT “Grow for the Future” Campaign!

You did it!  Thank you to each one of you who helped us raise nearly $24,000 for our Grow for the Future Campaign! You and 180 other people who share a love of our natural resources, the Ozarks, and the future of our planet came together to not only match, but surpass the $10,000 pledge from David Hartig. What does this mean? As of today, we are actively working with 4 landowners and 2 government agencies to permanently conserve another 1400 acres. That’s not all. We are now handling several calls per week from interested landowners concerned about protecting their land.  Your contributions enable us to take on these projects.Without you, we would not be here and the land that you've saved may not either. Thank you.

Hogscald Hollow: Hidden History & Savior Steward

Adorned with multiple waterfalls, and caves, it was; a sacred Native American healing ground, then a base for the Confederate army. It was a Christian church for half a century, but also a hideout for thieves, murderers, moonshiners, and skinny dippers. Hogscald Hollow is an Arkansas treasure with a captivating history.

- Lance Estep

It All Started with a Journal from 1850

After the passing of his father in 2011, Lance Estep inherited the journal that belonged to his great-great-great-grandfather. It cataloged Civil War accounts as well as the man's journey of becoming a minister which lead to an entire congregation that would worship at Hogscald and be baptized in its clear waters. 

Lance was intrigued by this newfound family history, and having never been to the sacred location his father often mentioned, he visited Hogscald Hollow in what would be a watershed moment for him. He was blown away by the beauty of the place but his amazement was short lived when just a couple hundred yards downstream, beyond the boundary of ORLT's border, he found the area littered with trash and graffiti.  

He felt morally obligated to protect the beautiful place that was now a personal link to his heritage. This compelled Lance to not only connect with ORLT and became a steward for land, but to go back to school and pursue a degree in archaeology.

Since then, Lance has joined the Arkansas Archaeological Survey and found that Hogscald qualifies for the National Register of Historic places. Lance, says that Hogscald changed his life for the better and ORLT cannot be more thankful to have someone so dedicated and caring as a steward for the property.

The Yocoms: a Family Farm Being Passed to the Next Generation

In the heart of our nation, just outside the small town of Davisville, MO, lies a farm tucked against the placid Huzzah Creek. Purchased in 1938, it originally was a plot of land for short holidays and vacations for the Yocom family. The plot of land was soon turned into a small dairy farm which would pass from generation to generation for nearly 100 years.

Fast forward to the present and we meet Steve Yocom, 58 years old and running the land, now a cattle farm, of his forefathers. It has grown through the years to encompass well over 1,000 acres, some of which borders the beautiful Huzzah Creek. Steve’s been working on his farm since he can remember. He enjoys the life of hard work and the satisfaction that comes with it.

The Next Generation

He and his wife, Heidi, have one daughter, Rachel who, like her father, grew up on the farm but pursued higher education after high school. Rachel would go on to earn a master’s degree before returning to her true passion of helping run the family farm.

Rachel is a rarity. At just 26 she is less than half the age of the average principal farmer in America. And, should she choose to become the principal owner and operator of her father’s operation within the next ten years, she would be among the staggeringly low 4% of farmers who are under the age of 34.

Protecting Their Land Forever

In November 2011 and again in June 2015, the Yocom family protected portions of their farmland from development by placing a conservation easement on it.  Under the conservation easement, the land remains in private ownership and is managed in accordance with the terms of the conservation easement that were tailored to meet the needs of the Yocom’s cattle operation and also protect the health of the Huzzah Creek. ORLT works in partnership with the Yocoms to ensure that the terms of the easement are followed. We hope that Cora, Steve's baby granddaughter, shown in the video above, enjoys the farm as much as her mom, grandparents and great-grandparents have, and that she too will come to know the worth of the land. 

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