On August 3, 2023, The Conservation Fund announced its donation of the historic 140-acre Green Homestead in Benton County, Arkansas to the National Park Service (NPS).
The homestead is within the boundaries of Pea Ridge National Military Park, and the donation completes the park as it was envisioned when it was created 67 years ago.
“I’m thrilled the expanded Pea Ridge National Military Park is reopening to the public,” said U.S. Representative Steve Womack.
“As the location of one of the most significant Civil War battles west of the Mississippi, the Park is an integral part of our Northwest Arkansas and American history. I commend the Park Service and The Conservation Fund for making this expansion and restoration possible. I look forward to welcoming people from across the country to the reopened Pea Ridge National Military Park,” he explained.
The Conservation Fund acquired the property in 2020 and held it until the Fund could assemble all the funding to enable the donation to NPS.
On August 5, The Conservation Fund and NPS marked the park’s completion with a daylong celebration, including a ceremonial deed signing.
“We have been excited to work with the National Park Service and other partners to preserve land that is so important to America’s historic, cultural and natural heritage,” said Clint Miller, The Conservation Fund’s central Midwest regional director.
“Beyond protecting a key part of the battlefield, this historic homestead provides habitat for rare species and preserves the memory of other historic events, including the Trail of Tears. Pea Ridge National Military Park is better for the addition of this property. And the memories we continue to make here will be all the richer for this land’s conservation,” he added.
Larry Green, one of four surviving siblings (along with Bill Green, Donnie Green and Wilma Bridges) to be born on the homestead, said they collectively chose to sell to The Conservation Fund specifically so that land could become part of the park.
“It’s been in the family for well over 100 years,” he said. “We always wanted it to go to the park — and now it’s actually happening. I just don’t have the words to describe it. We got our wish.”
The Green Homestead had been a conservation priority for NPS. As the last privately held parcel inside the park’s legislative boundary, the homestead’s inclusion into the park was essential to permanent preservation of the historic Civil War battlefield.
It is also historically significant for its proximity to Telegraph Road, which was used as a route on the Trail of Tears, the tragic, murderous, forcible relocation of the Cherokee people and other Native Americans to Oklahoma in the 1830s.
“The conservation of historic sites helps tell the story of our past,” said U.S. Senator John Boozman.
“Preserving these spaces in Arkansas through official recognition, whether it’s a formal designation of the Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail or a fully intact Pea Ridge National Military Park, ensures future generations will have the opportunity to learn about their important place within our nation’s history. I’m pleased to support programs committed to protecting the beauty of The Natural State and promoting initiatives to recognize its unique role in the American experience,” he continued.
Funding to acquire the property was provided by the Arkansas Community Foundation, Benton County Historical Society Commission, Pea Ridge National Military Park Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program.
This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation.
In addition, the land is being conserved, in part, by funding and technical assistance made available to address potential impacts caused by construction and maintenance of Diamond Pipeline LLC’s Diamond Pipeline Project, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Conservation Fund protects the land that sustains us all. They say they are “in the business of conservation”, creating innovative solutions that drive nature-based action in all 50 states for climate protection, vibrant communities and sustainable economies.
They apply effective strategies, efficient financing approaches, and enduring government, community and private partnerships to protect millions of acres of America’s natural land, cultural sites, recreation areas and working forests and farms.
Photo of Pea Ridge National Military Park courtesy of the American Battlefield Trust.