Origins Small and Large

Eureka Springs, AR

Andy Thomas, longtime board member and leader of Ozark Land Trust

Eureka Springs, Arkansas has always had a quirky but very strong environmental movement. Folks that live there cherish the rugged mountain scenery, trees, wildlife, and waterways, along with its unique regional history. They want to enjoy what they have been given and share their bounty with visitors, but they also want to see its beauty and history protected. Ozark Land Trust found a symbiotic homeland there as the organization began growing and doing good work in the 1980s. People, partnerships, ideas, energy, and a little bit of money came together with a common goal — to protect some of the most scenic, fragile, and historic sites in the area. Through various creative approaches, OLT became the proud owner of several properties in and near Eureka Springs to protect in perpetuity.

A serene forest trail with tall trees and a dirt path winding through the woods.

Amy’s Woods in Eureka Springs, AR

Amy’s Woods (7.5 acres) was Otto and Emilia (Amy) Mayer’s beloved little mountain-top patch of pines and oaks, adorned with a funky, marvelous little cabin where these local legends lived for decades. OLT took ownership of the property in 1993 to permanently protect it, and continues to diligently safeguard the trees, animals, cave, and cabin in Amy’s honor.

Just around the bend, on a different mountaintop, sits OLT’s Oak Hill Preserve. Beginning in 1997, Mary Jane Fritsch, another local legend (a humble powerhouse) who lived in the area her entire life, donated 146 acres of her family’s stunning heritage to OLT for permanent protection. With it came the historic Oak Hill Grange building, a scarce relic of past cultures where people gathered regularly to learn, gossip, feast, play, and grieve. OLT became the owner of several other properties in the area during those early formidable years in its journey – all for the greater good. Eureka Springs folks have always done things their own way; in doing so, they have, in turn, had a profound impact on the development and success of OLT.

A fallen tree rests on the edge of a cliff

Oak Hill Preserve in Eureka Springs, AR



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