are a total of 70 sites, all with water & electric, but no sewer
hookups. There's one dump station located across from Area C.
A has 13 sites, all wooded and across the road from the lake, so
no views of it. If you really like the feel of getting away from
it all, here's the loop for you. Standard sites are $15.50/night.
This is site # 3.
B has 42 sites, 10 that are classified as Premium Lakefront - this
is one of them. (#27) Rates were $19/night for these as of September,
2006. Preferred Lakefront is $17.50/night.
C has 15 sites, 6 classified as Premium Lakefront. This is the entrance
to the area - lake is on the left.
of the marina from the Visitors Center. There are several nice picnic
tables, a covered pavilion and a 1930's nature cabin here, also.
power plant across the lake can be seen (and sometimes heard) from
both Areas B & C. But no sense in griping about it, because
it's the reason Lake Catherine is here for us to enjoy. The lake
was created in 1924 and is the oldest hydro-electric lake of any
size in Arkansas. In 1935, Harvey Couch, the founder of Arkansas
Power and Light, "sold" 2,000 acres to the State of Arkansas
for a whole dollar bill - the lake is named for his daughter. It
became a state park two years later with the help of the CCC (Civilian
Conservation Corps). The History
of the Lake is pretty interesting reading.
Areas B & C: Both have great lakefront sites really close to the water.
The hiking trailhead is at the end of Area C, and I liked that. One thing
about Area C is that it's down a dead end road with a loop at the end.
For lakeside sites, you have to go to the end and turn around to be facing
the right way to back in - on the forest side, you'd have to do the same
to get out. The turnaround is do-able, but not overly large, so if someone
in one of those end sites is parked a bit into the street, it could be
a problem for people like me towing a car who can't backup. So check that
part out - you should unhook your tow before entering the drive.
were set out in 1970, and apparently it was usual then to have the water
on the opposite side of the electrical hookups. So the water hookups are
at the front of each site - and on the wrong side of the RV - so make sure
you have a long hose with you.
I had a nice
conversation with the Park Superintendent, Bill Saunders, about the history
of the park and the current plans to upgrade it. He's seen a lot in his
26 years in the parks service, and loves this park so much, he's been
here 17 years. He says this park really has a special feel to it and he's
seen how camping here has impacted families, some who have been coming
here for over 30 years. He loves to watch dads teaching their kids to
fish, and parents running behind their kids on bikes with training wheels.
And grandma and grandpa going on nature walks with the grandkids. He said,
"Quality of life - that's what it's all about - that's why I do this."
He was one of the last holdouts to install TV sets in the cabins. Feedback
he had gotten over the years from families is that not having that familiar
distraction gently forces them to interact with each other. They actually
sit and talk, and play silly games - these are the times treasured memories
are made from - not sitting and flipping through channels.
were very interesting as he explained he knows the park needs upgraded services,
but he hates the thought of the trees that will have to be sacrificed to
do so. Not only will some be uprooted to make more room and easier access
to the sites, but the necessary digging will surely kill others. Plans are
for Areas A and C to be better leveled, wired for 50 amp service, sewer
hookups, moving the water hookups to the right place, and for new picnic
tables. The end loop at Area C will be expanded for easier turn-arounds.
The new sales tax recently implemented will hopefully pay for these improvements,
and the work is planned to begin next year.
Click here for current
info from Lake Catherine State Park website.
Click here for Site
Map of campgrounds
courtesy of Malia's Miles.