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Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Cache River National Wildlife Refuge

An East Arkansas refuge contains the largest remaining tract of bottomland hardwood forest in North America.

In the 1970s, the Corps of Engineers planned to dredge and straighten several miles of the Cache River to reduce flooding. Suttgart dentist and duck hunter Rex Hancock formed a group to fight the plan, and in 1986 the area was made the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, ensuring its preservation.

In 1990, the United Nations Ramsar Convention deemed the site as “wetlands of international importance.” The sixty-two thousand acre refuge is home to around three hundred and fifty animal species and includes land in Jackson, Monroe, Prairie and Woodruff counties, with plans to expand as land becomes available.

In 2004, an ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought extinct, was spotted in the refuge. The Cache River National Wildlife Refuge is popular with hunters, fishermen, photographers and wildlife lovers and attracts around one hundred twenty thousand visitors each year.

You can read the full Encyclopedia of Arkansas entry about the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge at encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/cache-river-national-wildlife-refuge-3503.

Mark Christ produces and hosts Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute on KUAR. He is head of adult programming for the Central Arkansas Library System. He previously served as community outreach director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, which he joined in 1990 after eight years as a journalist.