The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has authorized amending a long-term lease agreement with Central Arkansas Water to expand Maumelle River Wildlife Management Area in Pulaski County by 2,395 acres.
The Maumelle River WMA was created in July 2010 when CAW agreed to allow hunting and other outdoor recreational activities on its property around Lake Maumelle with AGFC’s oversight. In July 2013 the two organizations signed a 99-year lease agreement for $1 million to ensure public hunting access on 18,861 acres around Lake Maumelle.
“Previously to that point there was no hunting allowed on that property at all and it allowed for some small game hunting and limited archery hunting for deer,” according to Ben Batten, deputy director.
Last year, CAW approached the AGFC with an offer to reset the 99-year lease and add 2,395 acres the water utility had acquired to protect the watershed since the initial agreement. AGFC will pay CAW an additional $226,825 under the amended lease agreement.
“It equates to a cost of 54 cents per acre per year, which is an incredibly good value,” Batten said.
The amended lease agreement also will expand the portion of the WMA where small game hunting is allowed.
Previously, small game hunters could only access 1,279 acres of the property. Now hunters may pursue small game on an additional 6,864 acres, most of which had been reserved for archery deer hunting only.
Commissioners also approved a land acquisition at Frog Bayou WMA in northwest Arkansas. They gave Director Austin Booth the authority to complete a purchase agreement for up to 165 acres of property adjacent to the existing WMA boundary for a price not to exceed $527,0000. This will expand the amount of public access to wetland habitat in the Arkansas River Valley for both hunting and watchable wildlife pursuits and increase the agency’s ability to provide valuable winter habitat for migrating birds.