FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Runway Group, a company owned by Steuart and Tom Walton, is proposing the redesignation of federal lands near the Buffalo National River.  

According to Arkansas Sen. Bryan King, many Arkansans are suspicious of how little transparency there has been during this process.

“There are entities out there namely the Runway Group and a few others that want to change the designation of the Buffalo National River to the Buffalo National River Preserve,” said Sen. King.

A preserve is similar to a national park. However, by making that land a preserve, it would allow people to hunt and fish there.

“The reality is a lot of people are upset because this didn’t start locally and it should have,” said King.

According to King, the Runway Group posted a poll online which stated many people wanted their representative in the United States Congress to vote for redesignating the river.

The Runway Group posted this statement earlier this month:

Our intent with this survey is to better understand the feelings and beliefs of the Arkansans whose daily live are connected to the river. At this time, no official proposal has been offered.

The Runway Group

King says he believes this proposal is driven by certain business interests. He also pointed out that anyone who has spent time at the Buffalo National River has a voice in this matter.