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Southwest of Little Rock, Arkansas in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, lies a hidden mountain treasure. Lake Greeson is one of the oldest reservoirs in Arkansas. Although relatively undiscovered, there are ample amenities and recreational opportunities for visitors. With over 7,000 acres of water, this mountain beauty is waiting to be explored.
Lake Greeson is the dream of Martin White Greeson (B. 1866), and the answer for an area troubled by repeated flooding. Created in 1950 by the Narrows Dam, Lake Greeson is an impoundment of the Little Missouri River. The Pike County lake is divided into three layers. The bottom layer is kept full to maintain enough pressure to run the powerhouse to generate hydroelectric power. The middle layer is for power storage, and the top layer is for flood storage. The top layer is usually empty unless it is holding flood waters after heavy rains. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controls the 151-foot long concrete gravity dam, the lake, and the surrounding area, totaling about 16,000 acres.
Lake Greeson's value extends far beyond hydroelectric power and its important role in flood control. It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Anglers fish for black and white bass, stripers, crappie, and bluegill, with very good fishing for channel catfish and rainbow trout. There are 7,000 acres of land open to the public for hunting, and bird watchers will love catching glimpses of the wintering bald eagles. Daisy State Park is a favorite family destination, providing campsites, picnic areas, launch ramps, hiking trails, and a motorcycle/mountain bike/ATV trail. Bear Creek Trail, the only year-round, off-road trail in the Arkansas trail system, offers cyclists 31 miles of beautiful cycling and ATV trails to explore this mountain lake.
The Cinnabar Mine Trail surrounding the lake is a nature trail to an abandoned cinnabar mine. The mine was popular in the 1930s and 1940s, before the creation of the lake. The cinnabar was used for decorative purposes and as a source of mercury for thermometers. For a few dollars, treasure hunters, young and old, can hunt for diamonds at nearby Crater of Diamonds State Park. Hunters can keep the diamonds they find, making this a popular family outing.
Lake Greeson's steep shoreline creates many islands, peninsulas, and interesting geological formations, including "chimney rock." Lake Greeson is a mountain paradise waiting to be enjoyed, so pack your bags and plan your trip soon.
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