Arkansas Land for Sale

Go ahead, say it: Ahr-kuhn-saw. Put the accent on the first and last syllables. Don’t worry, you’re not the first to have a hard time looking at the name and trying not to pronounce it phonetically. The Arkansas General Assembly passed a statute specifying the pronunciation in 1881, after changes in the spelling – from “Arkansaw” to the current “Arkansas” – causing all manner of confusion for residents and lawmakers alike. Whether you pronounce it “ahr-kuhn-saw,” “ahr-kuhn-sawz,” or “ahr-kan-zas,” once you get a glimpse of the stunning beauty of this gem of the South, words will become unnecessary.

Spanish explorer and nobleman Hernando de Soto was the first European to enter into what is now Arkansas in 1541. Part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Territory of Arkansas was established in 1819. Achieving statehood to the Union in 1836, Arkansas reluctantly declared secession from the Union and joined the Confederacy after Abraham Lincoln responded with his forces to the attack on Fort Sumter in 1861, along with Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Arkansas played a part in the Civil War as the scene for a number of small skirmishes. Confederate major general Patrick Cleburne was a prominent player in these skirmishes. An Irish immigrant who settled in Helena, Arkansas, Cleburne is referred to as the “Stonewall Jackson of the West” for his brilliant battle tactics. Former U.S. Representative for Mississippi Thomas Hindman, also from Helena, commanded forces in the Confederate Army to a level of notability among his peers on the other side of the war. In 1868, Arkansas was brought back into the Union fold.

The “Trail of Tears” runs through the southern portion of Arkansas, and refers to the route that forcefully displaced several tribes of Native Americans, including the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

The official nickname given to Arkansas is “The Natural State,” which replaced the former nickname, “Land of Opportunity” in the 1970s. Once you’ve entered the state, you will quickly agree with the reasons why the nickname was changed. One of the most naturally beautiful states in the southern United States, Arkansas is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Ranking 32nd in population, Arkansas has 2,937,979 residents living full time in the state. Population density is a mere 56.4 per square mile, which means that there are areas with so few residents that it’s possible to go without laying eyes on another human being for miles.

Arkansas ranks 21st in publicly owned land, with just 17.3 percent off-limits to private investors. Out of a total of 53,182 square miles, this translates to vast choices of land parcels of all sizes available in almost any part of the state. Prices for tracts of land in Arkansas can be quite reasonable, with some areas selling for less than $5,000 per acre. While natural beauty blankets the entire state, Arkansas has five distinct physiographic areas: Ozark Plateau, Arkansas River Valley, Ouachita Mountains, West Gulf Coastal Plain and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain.

Ozark Plateau

The northwestern part of Arkansas is occupied by the Ozark Plateau, which also extends into parts of Oklahoma, Illinois and Missouri. Densely forested with stands of deciduous and coniferous trees, the Ozark Plateau features steep valleys and craggy mountains. Most of this area is referred to as the Ozark Mountains, but the plateau extends south, into the Boston Mountains before meeting the Arkansas River Valley. One of the largest springs in the whole of the United States, Mammoth Springs makes its home on the Ozark Plateau.

State and national parks dot the land of the Ozarks. The Ozark National Forest and Buffalo River National Park are popular attractions and provide a wide variety of recreation. Campers, hikers and nature watchers will find a haven in this area. Boating, fishing and hunting are popular as well. Despite the amount of acreage in the area dedicated to public use, large tracts of land are available for purchase. Natural gas is mined in this area and is the state’s most important mined product. This area has higher than average prices for real estate in the state, and depending on a number of factors, including proximity to popular recreation area, lakes and cities, prices can go up to $100,000 per acre or more.

Arkansas River Valley

Situated between the Ozark Plateau to the north and the Ouachita Mountains to the south, lies the Arkansas River Valley. The Arkansas River is the largest in the state, and slices through this region, carving a lush, green valley and snaking around a handful of mountains that dot the landscape. The highest point in Arkansas is Magazine Mountain, climbing 2,753 feet above sea level.

The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River, and before the advent of modern cargo transportation, the river was a major thoroughfare for products coming into and out of the state. Those looking for land for sale here should know that prices for acreage in the Arkansas River Valley are generally less than tracts in the Ozark region, with parcels averaging a modest $3,000 per acre.

Ouachita Mountains

Only two major mountain ranges run from east to west in the United States: the Uinta Mountains in Utah and the Ouachita Mountains, which run from eastern Oklahoma into central Arkansas. Famous for its hot springs, located just north of Lake Hamilton, the Ouachita Mountains also boasts timber and mineral resources, which help fuel the Arkansas economy.

Hot Springs National Park draws visitors from all over the world and has seen a surge in numbers in recent years. More than 1.5 million visitors made their way to the park in 2003. Other industries in the area include mining for quartz, which is abundant in the Zig-Zag and Crystal ranges of the Ouachita Mountains. Prices for parcels in this area range between $7,000 and $10,000 per acre.

West Gulf Coastal Plain

Situated along the border between Arkansas and Louisiana to the south, the West Gulf Coastal Plain covers the southwestern and south central portion of Arkansas. Thousands of acres of fertile farmland and pine trees dominate this lowland area. The Ouachita River in this area is the lowest point of the state, at 55 feet above sea level. Natural resources are here in abundance: natural gas and petroleum deposits and bromine, which collects in brine pools. Refined into various forms, bromine is used as a gasoline additive, flame retardant and natural pesticide, among others.

The second most heavily mined product in the state, petroleum is mined from vast oil fields along the southern border of the state. Other minerals are mined here as well, including quartz, coal, vanadium and diamonds. Real estate is very reasonable in this area. Depending on the particular location, investors can expect prices of land for auction to range from $1,000 to $2,500 per acre.

Mississippi Alluvial Plain

Most of the border between Arkansas and Tennessee is defined by the Mississippi River. The area surrounding the river is mostly lowland except for a narrow strip of hills that run north to south through the central portion of the plain. Also referred to as the Delta region, the Mississippi river and its tributaries carry rich, fertile soil down into this plain, making the area a natural choice for farming and ranching.

Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and is located in the center of the state. The area surrounding the city is the most densely populated of any other region in the state. This may be one reason that prices for tracts of land vary greatly in this region. Prices per acre begin around $4,000, with some parcels skyrocketing to $140,000 or more.

Arkansas Industry

Arkansas gross domestic product (GDP) totaled $103 billion in 2010. Unsurprisingly, agriculture brings in a large portion of earnings for the state’s economy. It’s estimated that farmland covers about 36 percent of all of the state’s landmass. While cotton, wheat and corn are important crops, the biggest crop by far is rice. It is the largest producer of the grain in the United States, providing around 46 percent of the nation’s supply. Soybeans make up a large portion of crops produced, ranking 10th in national production. Livestock is big here, but it’s not beef or pork that takes top volume in production. Chicken, in the form of young broilers, account for more than 40 percent of the state’s livestock production.

As illustrated earlier, mining contributes a great deal to Arkansas’ economy. Although known as an agricultural state, Arkansas ranks 25th in the nation in mining production. This is due, in large part, to the abundance of bromine in the state making Arkansas among the largest producers of bromine in the country. Employing thousands of people, the minerals mined in Arkansas bring in some $500 million annually.

Large employers in Arkansas include Walmart, headquartered in Bentonville, and Tyson foods, producer of chicken products, which is the fourth largest employer in the state. Other notable employers, outside of state and federal entities, include J.B. Hunt Transport, Georgia-Pacific, Kroger and Lowe’s.

According to many, Arkansas is more than meets the eye of the outsider. From core mining industries that meet America’s energy needs and agriculture to meet the nation’s food supply to exquisite natural attractions that meet the needs of America’s legacy, Arkansas can be viewed as having it all.