DeGray Lake Resort State Park
DeGray Lake Resort State Park, located in southwest Arkansas, features a ninety-four-room lodge, an eighteen-hole championship golf course, a full service marina, a convention center, tennis courts, and a pool. It is the state’s only resort state park.
While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was constructing DeGray Lake (1963–1972) by damming the Caddo River, support grew within the State Parks Division and surrounding communities for developing along the 13,400-acre lake a state park to rival resort state parks in neighboring Oklahoma and Texas.
The Corps and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism reached an agreement in November 1971 for the construction and management of a resort and recreation area on the lake’s north shore. Effective May 1, 1972, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism leased from the Corps for thirty years a park site totaling 938 acres. In early 1973, construction began on an eighteen-hole golf course, the first built at then-named DeGray State Park. A marina and campsites were open by 1974 and a lodge by 1975. Federal economic development grants helped finance initial park construction. The park was dedicated in April 1974.
In 1977, the park dropped one Corps camping area from the lease, but it added two such areas in 1978, expanding the park to 984 acres. The lodge was privately managed from 1975 to1985, when Arkansas State Parks assumed operation.
In 1996, voters approved the state’s Amendment 75 Conservation Tax, designed to provide operating and capital improvement funds for the Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and Keep Arkansas Beautiful. By 2002, this one-eighth-cent tax financed more than $10 million in park projects, including the refurbishing of the ninety-six-room lodge and improvements to the park’s conference center, golf course, marina, day-use area, campground showers, and water system. The park lease was renewed for twenty-five years effective May 1, 2002.
Other park amenities include a spa, an exercise room, campsites with electric and water hookups, an amphitheater, a park store, tennis and basketball courts, a horseback riding stable, hiking trails, picnic areas and pavilions, boat ramps, swimming beaches, and year-round educational and recreational programs.
For additional information:
Arkansas State Parks–DeGray Lake Resort. http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/degraylakeresort/default.aspx (accessed June 4, 2014).
Staff of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
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