Lake Frierson State Park is a state park of Arkansas, USA. The park consists of 1,063 acres (430ha) in Jackson County and includes the lake itself as well as land around it. It offers camping facilities, hiking trails, mountain biking, playgrounds, picnic areas, boat rentals, swimming beach, fishing dock, and nature center.
The park also has two golf courses, Little Mountain Golf Course and Sandhills Golf Course. A visitor’s center open year-round, the park features interpretive exhibits about local ecology and history. On special occasions, reenactments happen at the park with period costumes and using dioramas to recreate scenes from the past. Events such as these take place during fall and winter seasonally.
The Sandhills Environmental Education Center is located within the park office. Interpretive displays can be found throughout the campground and other public areas of the park.
Camping is available all year long; however, some amenities may not be available all year round. Toilets, showers and laundry facilities are only accessible via fee. Campers must have proof of insurance before entering the camp site. Campsites range from modern with water and electric hookups, to semi-modern with water and sewer, to primitive tent sites.
Primitive camping requires that you bring your own shelter and cooking equipment. No pets are allowed in the camp sites or shelters, and no fires are permitted in the camp grounds. Parking fees are in effect from May through September. Fees are $8 per vehicle per day, and annual passes can be purchased at any DEW facility.
Grills and fire rings are provided at most sites. 30 amp electrical service is standard at most campsites, but 40 amps will be available at a few sites which have been upgraded by the owner. These sites have a “40 Amp” marker on the ground.
Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are not recommended due to the small size of the camp sites and their distance from the rest of the park. There are 38 miles (61km) of footpaths inside the park. 14 miles (23km) of those paths are suitable for hiking, 12 miles (19km) of which go through forests. The longest path is the 3+1 loop, spanning 5.5 miles (8.9km). Other paths include the 0.75 mile Circle Trail, the 1.2 mile Naturalist Path, and the .7 mile Dogwood Lane Trail.
Bikes are permitted anywhere in the park except the roads and trails. Dogs are permitted off leash in the campgrounds and recreational areas, including Lake Frierson. Hunting is permitted in certain parts of the park. White tail deer, squirrels, rabbits, pheasant, quail, doves, wild turkey, and raccoons are among the game that may be hunted legally. Deer must be taken with a bow.
Game birds may be shot over the park grounds, but they must be taken outside the park boundaries. Fish catchers and crab pots are available at the park, and bait & tackle shops in nearby Eureka Springs sell items specifically geared toward fishermen visiting Lake Frierson. Visitors launching boats into the lake must purchase a permit from the park office.
Lake Frierson is a popular destination for anglers hoping to catch bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, sunfish, and red ear sunfish. Seasonal hunting opportunities exist for white tail deer, squirrels, and ruffed grouse. Lake Frierson does not contain a motorboat launch, so boaters needing to access the river must travel to Fayetteville where launches are available.
Two boat docks have been built since Hurricane Katrina. One is north of Highway 36 and the other is south of Highway 36. Both are ADA accessible. The one closer to Highway 36 is used primarily by commercial traffic while the one further out is mainly for private use. Fishing licenses are required and are valid for three years. Crabbing is not legal in Arkansas, though it is common practice. If a fisherman wishes to keep a crab, he must either boil it first, or find a location where the crabs are able to safely crawl into a pottery jar filled with boiling water. Arkansans possessing proper permits can hunt deer, squirrels, and raccoons.
Lake Frierson is a designated trout pond, and trout fishing is very popular. Rainbow trout of record size have been caught in the lake, ranging from under 16 inches (41cm) to nearly 20 inches (510mm), and weighing in at over 6 pounds (2.4kg). Crappies, bluegill, catfish, and sunfish are also plentiful. Ice fishing takes place frequently, especially during the winter months. Access to the ice is usually possible from mid-October until late March, depending upon weather conditions. A thick layer of snow cover protects the lake from freezing during these months. Access to the shoreline for ice fishing is limited, as the thickness of the ice is not monitored. When the ice is too thin to allow safe access, fishing ends for the year. During the summer months, swimming is welcome at Lake Frierson.
Lifeguards are not stationed at the lake, although there is a lifeguard station across the highway from the park. At many parks, including Lake Frierson, visitors cannot enter the water unless they pay a fee. This policy varies widely, and indeed entry into the water is always free at Lake Frierson, as it is at all DEW facilities.
Lake Frierson was constructed in 1962 for flood control purposes along the Black River. In 1969, the Army Corps of Engineers leased 938 acres to the Division of Parks and Tourism for use as a state park. Development on this project began in 1972. An ecological area was created by the construction of the dam, and an additional 2,400 acres were added to the park in 1989 when the Corps sold 840 acres to the Ozark National Forest Commission.
Activities offered include:
- guided trail walks and hikes
- naturalist activities
- arts and crafts classes
- children’s programs
- group camps
- kayak trips
- canoe tours