Visitors to the Centerton in Benton County in the northwest region of Arkansas may want to escape the city especially during the hot, humid summer months so many head for the surrounding countryside which includes part of the Orzark Plateau. The Ozark Mountains cover a large part of this area while the Ouachita Mountains lie to the south with the Arkansas River running between the two and acting as a natural divider. The state has numerous rivers, lakes and reservoirs within it as well as those that run along its borders including tributaries to the Mississippi River such as the White River, St. Francis River and the Arkansas River itself which are in turn fed by many other rivers that run across this state. It may therefore come as a surprise that Arkansas does not have many lakes however it does have several major reservoirs that are used for both environmental and recreational purposes.
Among these manmade reservoirs, you will find Beaver Lake which is a popular destination for both local residents and tourists alike. It is very easy to access from Centerton as U.S. Route 62 runs along the north and west sides of the lake while Highway 12 roughly follows the lake for much of its length too. This reservoir was formed in the 1960’s by the construction of a dam across Arkansas’ White River which was built by the Army Corp of Engineers as a result of the Flood Control Act in 1944. Beaver Lake became the first flood control lake of its kind and it was built to provide flood control from the White River watershed to hold the water back to prevent it overflowing from Table Rock Lake. In the decades since its creation, this reservoir is estimated to have prevented over $50,000 worth of damage, over $1 million every year. The lake has the additional advantage of being is situated in a beautiful location at the foot of the Orzark Mountains, with almost 500 miles of natural shoreline surrounded by towering limestone formations and an abundance of different trees, flowers and fauna making it the perfect have for nature lovers as well as those who prefer more active pursuits.
The area is popular for a variety of recreational pursuits including hiking, fishing, boating and potholing with the latter proving popular among those who want to explore the many natural caves in the area. These include several that extend deep under the ground as well as smaller openings to explore such as sea caves, grottos and rock shelters. There are several paved access roads that winding round it, providing access to the twelve parks that have were developed in and around the area with camp sites that offer full facilities such as picnic sites, electricity, fire rings, BBQ equipment, drinking water, showers and restrooms. Boat launching ramps are also available for those who like sailing and water sports while fishing fanatics can enjoy this pastime at their leisure or participate in one of the many fishing tournaments held here throughout the calendar year.