Lake Poinsett State Park
Arkansas’s twentieth state park, Lake Poinsett, is a fisherman’s haven located off Arkansas Highway 163 in Harrisburg (Poinsett County) in northeast Arkansas. It is one of four state parks located along Crowley’s Ridge in eastern Arkansas.
In the 1950s, several residents in the Harrisburg area started volunteer efforts to have a recreational lake built in the county. Spearheaded by a local Rotary Club committee chaired by Richard D. Woods, the planners envisioned a place to fish, picnic, and camp, but it became clear they did not have the funds to construct the type of multi-purpose facility they wanted.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission expressed interest in damming Distress Creek to create a lake, but only when funds became available. After months of struggling to secure necessary funds, Dan Portis, a one-time Arkansas highway commissioner, suggested Woods pay a visit to someone Portis knew well, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus. Finally, the “lake committee” took their plan to Governor Faubus and won his approval. The lake was constructed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 1960 and named for the county in which it is located.
With the 640-acre lake completed, Woods and fellow Rotarian L. K. Collier spearheaded efforts for creating a state park. The two men donated forty acres of land toward the development of a park, but more was needed. Local donations netted enough to purchase another forty acres along the lakeshore, and on June 21, 1963, the Arkansas State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission accepted the land and easements.
Both the park acreage and facilities have expanded over the decades. Fishing enthusiasts find the shallow waters of Lake Poinsett excellent for catching a large stringer of bass, crappie, bream, or catfish. The park offers twenty-nine campsites, two picnic areas, a nature/hiking trail, a playground, a pavilion, and boat/kayak rentals. Interpretative programs are available throughout the year, including guided-kayak tours and annual special events. The park attracts over 93,000 visitors annually.
For additional information:
Arkansas State Parks–Lake Poinsett. http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakepoinsett/ (accessed June 9, 2014).
Staff of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
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