Lake Fort Smith State Park is a state park in the northwest corner of Arkansas, United States. The park consists of 1,085 acres (430ha) situated around a reservoir created on Crowley’s Ridge by damming Big Creek, an upstream tributary on the Black River.
Camping facilities are available throughout the year, with hot showers and flush toilets among other amenities. Boat ramps are present at both ends of the lake, as well as a fishing pier midway through the lake. Picnic tables, playgrounds, swimming beach, boat dock, electric vehicle charging station, and visitor center also exist within the park. Hiking and mountain bike trails include Shoreline Trail, which runs along the shoreline of the lake, and Natural Bridge Trail, which passes behind Crowley’s Ridge Mountain. Other trails pass through wooded areas, travel up steep hills, or venture into remote sections of the park.
There is a $6 daily entrance fee, however children under 13 are allowed in at no cost. The campground opens on Memorial Day weekend and closes Labor Day weekend. Reservations are accepted only for sites 1 – 7. No pets are permitted in the campground. Amenities include access to:
- a sandy beach
- picnic area
- volleyball court
- horseshoe courts
- tether ball court
- interpretive displays
Interpretive displays include one dedicated to native son Dale Bumpers, another featuring highlights of his political career, and a third about the history and culture of the Ouachita National Forest. Lake Fort Smith State Park receives significant support from the staff at Bull Shoals-White River State Park. Both parks share similar scenery, and the two parks are connected by road and rail. Lake Fort Smith State Park is adjacent to White River State Park, and guests may use the parking lot and trails of either park to reach the other.
Additionally, there is a train stop just outside the park that serves the scenic line between Rock Island and Pine Island. This article contains content in the public domain published by the state. As a result, its accuracy cannot be verified. “Lake Fort Smith” redirects here. This article related to a protected area in Arkansas is a stub.
Lake Fort Smith State Park was formed when the Crowley’s Ridge Dam was constructed in 1963 across Big Creek, an important stream which flows down from the Ozark Mountains.
The original idea for a lake came in 1957, but it wasn’t until 1960 that any action was taken. A local citizen group, the Friends of Crowley’s Ridge, spearheaded the effort to create the lake and were joined in their efforts by Senator Joe L. McCory, a Democrat who at the time represented Arkansas in the U.S. Senate. In addition to providing recreation and environmental benefits, construction of the dam provided employment during a period of high unemployment.
Upon completion of the dam, power generation began immediately, with full capacity achieved within two years. An additional 2,400 acre-feet (3,300,000m3) of water were added to the system upon completion of the South Cove Point Dam in 1967, increasing total system capacity to nearly 5,900 acre-feet (7,200,000m3). Lake Fort Smith State Park officially opened to the public in 1971.
The name change from Crowley’s Ridge State Park to Lake Fort Smith State Park occurred in 1975. Lake Fort Smith State Park features several different trail systems including equestrian, multi-use, backpacking, and primitive campsites. The park hosted the 2011 USA Intercollegiate Championships in June.
The park offers camping facilities and trails for:
- mountain biking
- horseback riding
It is located near Bluff City.
- marsh rabbits
Lake Fort Smith State Park has long been used for orienteering competitions each spring. Lake Fort Smith State Park offers many opportunities for bird watching, including:
- bald eagles
- owls such as barred owls, screech owls
- saw-whet owls
- white pelicans
- black pelicans
- double-crested cormorants
- red-tailed hawks
- turkey vultures
- common ravens
- wild turkeys
Many species of fish can be caught at Lake Fort Smith, including:
- northern pike
- flathead catfish
- hybrid striper/gizzard shad
- yellow perch
- mud crab