News Releases

Lake Fort Smith State Park Re-opens May 21 at its New Site on the Western Side of 1,400-Acre Lake Fort Smith

Article follows the photos:
  • The New Lake Fort Smith

  • Lake Fort Smith Landscape

  • Park Interpreter Jay Schneider

  • Inside the Visitor Center

For Immediate Release

Park Features All New Facilities Including Campsites, Group Lodge, Picnic Sites, Pavilion, Marina, Swimming Pool and Visitor Center

Mountainburg -- Lake Fort Smith State Park in western Arkansas reopens May 21, 2008, at its new site on the western side of 1,400-acre Lake Fort Smith, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts. 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.

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; playground; 8,000-square-foot visitor center with exhibit gallery, meeting/classroom and gift shop; hiking trails (under construction) and other park support facilities. Park programs will be offered throughout the year by the park’s interpretive staff.

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

Opening a few days later in time for Memorial Day Weekend will be the park’s new 2,660-square-foot swimming pool with an adjacent wading pool and a splash pad. The pool’s 2,251-square-foot bathhouse will feature changing areas, lockers, a snack bar and office.

Butts said, "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."

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.

The city of Fort Smith owns the park and has leased it to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT). The City directed $12 million towards the new park and the ADPT another $10 million from Amendment 75, Arkansas’s 1/8-cent Conservation Tax.

Greg Butts emphasized, "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." 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 picturesque valley setting."

He 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.

The park will serve as a gateway to adventure in the Boston Mountains offering a wide range of outdoor activities including camping, fishing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and nature study.

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

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

Note to News Media: For further information about the park’s opening and the new facilities at Lake Fort Smith State Park, contact: Ron Gossage, Park Superintendent, Lake Fort Smith State Park, P. O. Box 4, Mountainburg, AR 72946. Phone: 479-369-2469. E-mail:


Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"