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THE COMMISSION: Protecting Arkansas’s Ecosystem Biodiversity

The Commission is made up of fifteen members dedicated to conserving Arkansas’s natural heritage. Nine members are appointed by the Governor for staggered terms of nine years each. In addition, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate appoints three members, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives appoints three members. The commission provides general direction to ANHC professional staff, acts on staff proposals for acquiring and dedicating natural areas, establishes rules and regulations, and adopts and amends natural area management plans that conserve Arkansas’s ecosystem biodiversity.

Governor Appointees


Christian "Trey" Ashcraft

Pine Bluff, AR


Robert Bevis Jr.

Scott, AR

Hugh Earnest

Fayetteville, AR

Lucien Gillham
Sherwood, AR

Deborah Hoofman
Enola, AR

Mark Karnes
Arkadelphia, AR


  Sally McLarty
Newport, AR

Neill Sloan
Lake Village, AR

Ellen Turner
Rogers, AR

President Pro Tempore of the Senate Appointees

Patti Wilkerson
Stuttgart, AR

 Robin Lockhart
Little Rock, AR
Mike Skarda 
Des Arc, AR

Speaker of the House of Representatives Appointees

Susan Dumas
Morrilton, AR

Ben Noble
Little Rock, AR
Johnny Wheetley
Judsonia, AR


The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission grew out of Act 112 of 1973 which established the Arkansas Environmental Preservation Commission.  This initial legislation provided for an inventory to assure the protection of a network of sites illustrating the range and diversity of the state’s natural environment.  Two years later, after the development of the Arkansas Natural Area Plan, Act 227 of 1975 changed the name of the commission to its current “Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.”  This original group was composed of nine members appointed by the Governor for staggered terms of nine years each. In 2001, Act 1228 added six additional commissioners, three appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and three by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The current commission consists of 15 members. 

During the four decades since its creation, the commission membership has been as diverse as the lands they work to protect. For a complete list of all members, follow this link.


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