Creek County Family Donates 12,000 Acres To The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy said the 12,000-acre ranch is in "outstanding" condition, supporting plants and animals. The previous owners wanted the public to enjoy the space.

Monday, April 22nd 2024, 6:15 pm



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A Creek County family recently donated their 12,000-acre ranch to The Nature Conservancy.

TNC said the land is in "outstanding" condition, supporting plants and animals. The previous owners wanted the public to enjoy the space.

Just outside Sapulpa sits 12,000 acres of rolling hills and forests. On a clear spring day, the sun shines through leaves on trees that are hundreds of years old. A closer look reveals creatures like lizards, living here too.

"It's a very rare, unique situation for us,” Preserve Manager Jeanine Lackey said.

After more than 40 years of prescribed burns and care, Bob and Andie Jackson donated the land, which Bob inherited from his grandparents in the 80s. The ranch is now the Pearl Jackson Crosstimbers Preserve, named after Bob's grandmother.

“He couldn't ever see it being developed. So that's why he really, really, truly wanted it to be protected forever. And now it will be,” Lackey said.

The preserve extends as far as the eye can see and then some. Lackey said it is difficult to access right now, but there are waterfalls, streams, and scenic overlooks here, and the public will eventually have access to some of it.

"Watch the butterflies, go on a bird walk, look at some frogs and toads, watch a pond, watch some dragonflies,” Lackey said.

Before the public can enjoy the space, it is expected to take years of work and planning.

"I've walked 159 miles on this place, so I've seen quite a bit of it,” Matt Hagy said.

Hagy is the preserve's land steward.

"Seen some roadrunners, got some, lots of deer, some birds of prey, I've seen some snakes and lizards. We got a little bit of everything, as far as Cross Timbers go,” he said.

Lackey envisions school field trips and several hiking trails, in what she describes as a "once-in-a-lifetime" gift.

"The amount of acreage that they donated, that just doesn't come along very often. And to actually have a property this large, close to an urban center like Tulsa, that is still intact, is really, like, amazing,” Lackey said.

Turning a private paradise into a protected space for everyone.

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