When Charles Rateliff first rode his horse over the 580 acres he had recently purchased, he could not believe his good fortune. Hidden behind the overgrown pastures, neglected fence rows, dilapidated outbuildings and abundance of blackberry thickets, he discovered acres of hardwood forests, small lakes, year-round live streams, numerous springs and an abundance of wildlife. With the growth of Northwest Arkansas, he had assumed such undisturbed Ozark wilderness was no longer available. It became apparent that this property was a special place and that it warranted a much more meaningful result.
Combining many years of business experience with the Wal-Mart corporate world and a lifetime of love and respect for Mother Nature, the idea for The Cabins at Big Springs was born. “Never before have I felt such a deep responsibility and stewardship attached to developing such a place,” Charles says. From the beginning the question was “How do we do this, and how do we do it right?” This led to the motto of “less is more”. Less disturbance, less cabin sites, less pressure on the land, less wildlife impact means more natural settings, more undisturbed common areas, more natural vegetation, more wildlife. For many years, Charles has been dedicated to the conservation efforts of organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
In 2008, Lubbock native Jerry Hale, a retired businessman from West Texas, spent one night at one of The Cabins. After that night, he knew he wanted to be part of this development. “My wife Susanna and I were looking for a retreat in the mountains of New Mexico or Colorado, but when we saw what The Cabins at Big Springs had, and the quiet beauty of Northwest Arkansas, we found exactly what we were looking for.” Charles and Jerry believe that their current experience with private development, fund management, and private equity investments are great attributes to bring to The Cabins at Big Springs. More importantly, their vision, dedication, sensitivity, and proactive environmentalism are what make The Cabins at Big Springs a very special place.