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Lake Erling was built in 1958 by the International Paper Company when they needed more water for its Springhill, Louisiana plant that is located nearby. The company built the Lake Erling Dam, also known as the Percy Cobb Dam, on Codcaw Creek. The lake was named after Erling Rills who was the vice president of International Paper during the time. Today Lake Erling is jointly managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and International Paper Company.
Lake Erling is located in Lafayette County, an area rich in timber. Much of the land in Lafayette County is owned by timber companies. A special feature to Lafayette County and Lake Erling is the Wildlife Management Area that was established around the lake in 1970. While providing quality wildlife habitat and public hunting opportunities, the Wildlife Management Area is an excellent place to enjoy the beautiful pine timberlands. Deer, quail, turkey, squirrel, rabbits, and many waterfowl can be viewed as well as hunted in season. Fishing is also permitted and is becoming a popular pastime at Lake Erling, which is best noted for its crappie.
Overnight visitors will find designated campsites at the Wildlife Management Area. Private camping is also located on the shoreline of Lake Erling and includes RV hookups. Additional lodging as well as shopping and restaurants can be found nearby in Springhill, Louisiana, or Magnolia, Arkansas.
Not too far from Lake Erling is the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge. The Prairie Chickens were near extinction, and the refuge gave them a safe environment to repopulate. The Wildlife Refuge is another excellent place to view wildlife. Wildflowers and tall flowing prairie grass will welcome visitors as they take a walk along the trails.
Lake Erling is a great place to unwind after a hard day of work. Visitors can come out for a day or even spend a weekend and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding them. Lake Erling may become such a favorite vacation spot that repeat visitors may want to purchase a subdivided lot of their own, and someday build the house of their dreams. Visitors can let the cares of the day slip away as the peaceful atmosphere of Lake Erling casts its spell.
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