Arkansas has helped earn us The Natural State nickname. Wherever you choose to
go, with over 600,000 acres of lakes in Arkansas, there are plenty of chances
to enjoy the water. In South Arkansas, options include the tri-lakes of Dierks, Gillham and DeQueen.
Dierks Lake was formed after the 1975
completion by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of a dam across the Saline River
in southwestern Arkansas. Located on the 1,360-acre lake are Corps of Engineers recreation areas offering campsites, boat ramps and swimming areas.The lake is best known among anglers for its
largemouth bass, but fishing for crappie, bream and catfish is also good.
DeQueen Lake was created following the 1977
completion of a dam on the Rolling Fork River. Its surface covers 1,680 acres
with a shoreline length of 32 miles. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recreation areas on the lake offer campsites, boat ramps, swimming
areas, fish-cleaning stations, picnic sites and other recreational facilities.
At the crystal-clear lake visitors can enjoy
fishing, boating, skiing, scuba diving, picnicking, camping, hiking and
hunting. All of the scenic shoreline is publicly owned so boaters are free to
go ashore where they wish. Anglers come to the lake in search of its
largemouth, spotted and hybrid striped bass, crappie, walleye, bream and
Gillham Lake was created in Southwest
Arkansas following the 1975 completion of a dam on the Cossatot River. The
1,370-acre reservoir, located in Howard and Polk counties, features U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recreation areas that include some campsites, boat ramps, swimming
areas, picnic sites and other recreational facilities.
The lake is best known among anglers for its
largemouth bass, but fishing for crappie, bream, and catfish is also good.
The southwestern Arkansas town of De Queen
is within a short distance of all the lakes. The town was founded along a
railroad begun in the late 1880s from Kansas City to Port Arthur, Texas. When
an economic depression beginning in 1893 dried up sources of American capital
needed for the railway’s completion, Arthur Stillwell, who had conceived the
idea for the rail line and who was then part owner of the Kansas City,
Pittsburgh and Gulf Railroad, traveled to Holland in 1894 seeking investors for
His effort failing, Stillwell contacted Jan
DeGeoijen, a coffee broker he had met on a previous trip to Europe. He
convinced DeGeoijen to support the project and in a few months the two managed
to raise $3 million.
The town was named in honor of DeGeoijen,
but due to pronunciation difficulties among early residents it was altered to
the English variation “DeQueen.” The change subsequently made
possible one of Arkansas’s, if not the nation’s, most agreeably curious
newspaper names. The De Queen Bee began publishing in 1897 and continues in
Displayed in the Sevier County Historical Society Museumin De Queen are a bust of DeGeoijen and an American
flag he presented to the mayor’s wife when he visited his namesake town in
1927. Other museum highlights include “The 1940s House,” which
provides visitors with a veritable time-machine experience of that decade, and
an Antique Village with some 10 small, replica structures containing related
Also located near De Queen is the
27,500-acre Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Above photo by James West.