Lake Frierson State Park
Atop the unique landform of rolling hills called Crowley's Ridge, this park on the shore of 335-acre Lake Frierson is a peaceful place to relax and enjoy the year-round fishing for bream, catfish, crappie, and bass. The park's natural beauty is enhanced each spring when the wild dogwood trees throughout the park bloom.
Facilities include campsites [four Class C with water and electric hookups, and three Class D (no hookups)] with tables and grills, restrooms, picnic sites, a pavilion, playground, self-guided trail, launch ramp, barrier-free fishing pier, and visitor center with interpretive exhibits. Fishing boat, kayak, and pedal boat rentals are available.
A 2400-square foot multi-purpose, barrier-free, enclosed pavilion overlooks Lake Frierson. This facility is heated and includes restrooms, electrical outlets, ceiling fans, tables and a large sheltered grill. It is available throughout the year for family reunions, company picnics, weddings, birthday parties, etc. This facility will accommodate approximately 80 people.
'Peace of Mind' Lake Frierson's Most Valuable Commodity
By Jay Harrod
Arkansas's 33rd state park, Lake Frierson, is best known for its wild dogwoods and a fishing lake that produces bass, bream, channel catfish and crappie. At the small park in northeast Arkansas, visitors can also enjoy hiking trails, a playground, a picnic area, a pavilion, rental boats, a barrier-free fishing pier and seven campsites. Lake Frierson is located 10 miles north of Jonesboro on Ark. 141. For more information, including information on available interpretive programs, call (870) 932-2615.
Although motorboats often ply the waters of Lake Frierson, the 350-acre lake set amidst a thick hardwood forest draws people to its banks to enjoy a day in lawn chairs fishing with welcomed company. A day where the serenity, the chirping of birds, a good book and picnic lunch might well be as important as the catch of the day.
Unlike other regions of the state, Arkansas's northeast corner boasts no mammoth reservoirs such as Bull Shoals, Beaver, Maumelle, Ouachita, Millwoood or Chicot. This fact, though, adds to the appeal of Frierson. Nestled in a beautiful setting atop Crowley's Ridge, the lake is well known -- and used -- among fishermen.
Those who planned Lake Frierson knew the area needed more lakes. In fact, Frierson is one of nine lakes the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission now manages on Crowley's Ridge, which, in Arkansas, runs from the northeast corner of the state near Piggott, through Jonesboro and on to the Mississippi River at Helena.
The first agency to conduct preliminary work for Lake Frierson was the U.S. Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service, which was then known as the Soil Conservation Service. "They came in, surveyed and built the lake," said Park Superintendent Linda Bales. The lake, which was dedicated in 1974, was named for a Jonesboro attorney, Charles Frierson, who had donated hours of research and provided the documentation necessary for the purchase of the land.
"The Game and Fish was the second agency that came on board. They stocked the lake [with fish] and began managing the lake," Bales said. "The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism was the last agency to become involved. They were encouraged to develop it as a recreational area."
Although Parks and Tourism actually acquired land at Frierson years before, the department did not begin the first phase of park construction at the lake until 1978.
Many of the facilities and improvements found at Lake Frierson State Park today are due -- in large part -- to Amendment 75, a 1/8-cent conservation sales tax approved by Arkansas voters in 1996. "Money from the tax has been a real blessing," Bales said. "We have renovated one restroom and built another. We have put roofs on two different buildings. We have built a new day-use pavilion, and we've paved some roads."
Outside of the prime fishing at Frierson, Bales said her park is unique in many ways. First, while hunting is not allowed at state parks (other than at Beaver Lake State Park), visitors and campers at Frierson can enjoy hunting, when in season, on the three sides of the lake managed by the Game and Fish Commission. "They own and manage a buffered strip all the way around on the other side of the lake. It's a pretty good size area," she said.
According to Bales, Frierson's proximity to Crowley's Ridge State Park also serves as an attraction. "Crowley's Ridge is only six miles up the road," Bales said. "They have swimming and all these great facilities and interpretive programs and so forth. But they don't have the lake that we have. People can go back and forth from our park to their park. Some of them stay at Crowley's and come down here to fish. Some of the fishermen stay down here and take their children or grandchildren to Crowley's to swim. So we compliment each other very well."
During the spring, Frierson's blooming wild dogwoods attract nature lovers from near and far. "Oh the dogwoods are beautiful. Folks come from miles around to drive through our park to see the dogwoods," Bales said. And birding enthusiasts find useful the park's bird checklist developed by students from Arkansas State University.
Like many other small state parks, Bales knows that often it is hospitality -- and not amenities -- that makes visitors return. "We are very, very small, but we do work to make our guests feel comfortable and appreciated," she said. "People come here for peace of mind, and I think they usually find it."
Did you know Lake Frierson State Park is known for its year-round fishing and blaze of wild dogwoods in the spring?
Just 10 miles north of Jonesboro is Lake Frierson, one of the hottest fishing spots in northeast Arkansas. Built in the 1970s as a U.S. Soil Conservation Service project, this 350-acre lake is now managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The Game and Fish Commission stocks the lake, so good catches of bass, bream, channel catfish and crappie are guaranteed. The Game and Fish Commission also owns the land bordering the western side of the lake and opens it to hunters during season.
On Lake Frierson’s eastern shores is peaceful Lake Frierson State Park. Lake Frierson fronts the western edge of Crowley's Ridge, a geologic anomaly that rises from 100 to 200 feet above the surrounding countryside, stretching from southern Missouri to the Mississippi River at Helena, Arkansas. The park's close proximity to the Ridge prompts many visitors to take time from fishing for exploring the natural features of northeast Arkansas.
Each spring, the wild dogwoods throughout the park blossom and turn the landscape into a blaze of white. Lake Frierson boasts of having more dogwoods than any other state park its size.
Scattered along the lake are several tree-shaded picnic areas. For campers, seven campsites come equipped with tables and grills.
Whether you’re relaxing in your campsite, fishing on the lake or exploring the park with camera and binoculars, your visit to Lake Frierson State Park will leave pleasant memories and a yearning to return again.
4/9/1975 - Lake Frierson State Park - Act 978 signed to create the park.
10/21/1975 - Lake Frierson State Park - Initial land acquired for the park. An Easement with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.
Lake Frierson State Park provides a variety of recreational activities on the shores of 335-acre Lake Frierson, which fronts the western slopes of picturesque Crowley’s Ridge in northeast Arkansas.
Constructed in the 1970s by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, Lake Frierson is one of ten reservoirs—not all of them state parks—along Crowley’s Ridge managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism has a lease agreement with the Game and Fish Commission for the park’s 114 acres. The lake was named for Charles Frierson, a Jonesboro (Craighead County) attorney who played a major role in securing the property.
Funding for Lake Frierson State Park came from legislative appropriations in 1975, and construction started in 1978. The park, which occupies the lake’s eastern shoreline, was built for day use only and originally offered picnic sites, a boat launch, and restrooms. Since its early years, the park was known for fishing—channel catfish, black crappie, bream and some bass—and a bountiful spring display of blooming dogwoods.
By 1982, park facilities included a fishing pier, paved parking, camping, a hiking trail, and playground. During the 1990s, the park received a new visitors’ center, four campsites with water and electric services, an enclosed pavilion, and an upgraded nature trail. Rentals of fishing boats, kayaks, and pedal boats also became popular with visitors.
Lake Frierson is only six miles from Crowley's Ridge State Park, and some exchange between the two parks takes place, with overnight visitors or campers at Crowley’s Ridge spending the day fishing at Lake Frierson, for example.
Annual events in the park include an Earth Day celebration and a children’s fishing derby in the spring, and the Great Arkansas Clean-Up event in late summer. Approximately 65,000 people a year visit the park.
Directions to Park
The park is 10 miles north of Jonesboro on Arkansas 141.
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