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Dedication Ceremony for Lake Fort Smith State Park Slated for June 19

Public Invited to Join State and Local Officials at the Ribbon-cutting Ceremony For the New Lake Fort Smith State Park

Arkansas State Parks

Mountainburg -- Featuring all new facilities including campsites, a group lodging facility, picnic sites, a pavilion, marina with boat rentals, swimming pool and visitor center with exhibit gallery, the new Lake Fort Smith State Park will be officially dedicated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony slated for Thursday, June 19, at 11 a.m. in the park’s Day-use Area. The public is invited. Attending the ceremony will be state and area officials including Morril Harriman, chief of staff for Governor Mike Beebe, who will offer the keynote remarks; Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker; former State Representative B.G. Hendrix of Fort Smith; Danny Ford of Rector, vice chairman of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission; Richard W. Davies, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism; Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts; and Ron Gossage, park superintendent for Lake Fort Smith State Park.

The park is located eight miles north of Mountainburg on U.S. 71, or take Exit #29 off I-540 at Mountainburg.

Lake Fort Smith State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT). A partnership project between the City of Fort Smith and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the park reopened on May 21 at its new site on the western side of the enlarged Lake Fort Smith.
The park closed on January 2, 2002, to be relocated due to the enlarging of Lake Fort Smith and Lake Shepherd Springs into a single reservoir to meet the future municipal water needs of the Fort Smith area.

The City of Fort Smith owns the park and has leased it to the ADPT. The City directed $12 million towards the new park and the ADPT funded another $10 million from Amendment 75, Arkansas’s 1/8-cent conservation tax.

According to Greg Butts, “In partnership, the City of Fort Smith and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism were dedicated to making the new Lake Fort Smith State Park a first-class recreational destination.” The design of the new facilities evokes the architectural style of the Works Progress Administration facilities constructed in the 1930s
that were featured in the original park.

He continued, “It is a showcase offering improved facilities and scenic views of the lake and the surrounding Boston Mountain Range of the Ozark Mountains from its

Butts noted that Lake Fort Smith State Park is a source of local and state pride. The park plays an important role in the region’s outdoor recreational and environmental education offerings, and it likewise serves as an important component of western Arkansas’s travel destinations. “And it continues the partnership with the City of Fort Smith that began July 3, 1972,” he said.

The park will serve as a gateway to adventure in the Boston Mountains offering a wide range of outdoor activities including camping, fishing, kayaking, boating, swimming, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and nature study. Park programs will be offered throughout the year by the park’s interpretive staff.

Sporting all new facilities, the 259-acre park features 30 campsites [20 Class AAA sites with water/50 amp electric/sewer and 10 Class B sites with water/30 amp electric]; a group lodge with great room and kitchenette that can accommodate up to 32 persons (16 in each wing); picnic sites; a pavilion; marina with boat rentals; double lane boat launch ramp; and 2,660-square-foot swimming pool with adjacent wading pool and a splash pad. The pool’s 2,251-square-foot bathhouse features changing areas, lockers, a snack bar and office. The park also includes an 8,000-square-foot visitor center with exhibit gallery, meeting/classroom and gift shop; pavilion; hiking trails (under construction) and other park support facilities.

A trail link will allow Lake Fort Smith State Park to once again serve as the western terminus of the Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail.

For details or to make reservations visit or call the park at: 479-369-2469.

For further information about the park’s dedication ceremony, contact: Joan Ellison, public information officer, Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, phone:(501) 682-2873, e-mail: or Ron Gossage, park superintendent, Lake Fort Smith State Park, P.O. Box 4, Mountainburg, AR 72946, phone: 479-369-2469, e-mail: