LAKE FRANCES PRESERVE
Lake Frances Preserve- COMING SOON
Date Conserved: 2021
Trail Miles: COMING SOON
Lake Francis Gate Rd and HWY 59, Siloam Springs, AR
Once the site of an early 20th century resort, the Land Trust purchased Lake Frances Preserve in 2021 and 2022 to permanently protect one of the largest tracts of undeveloped forested land in western Benton County. The property lies east of the Illinois River adjacent to an area which was once Lake Frances. The river was impounded in the early 1900s to create a 70-acre recreational lake. When the dam failed for the final time, the river returned to its original course and the resort was closed. The preserve is just east of the WOKA whitewater park in Oklahoma and north of Gypsy Camp on the Illinois River.
Lake Frances Preserve boasts one of the most significant shortleaf pine/oak forests in Northwest Arkansas. Miles of drainages and ephemeral creeks flow through the property. Visitors can currently drive through the property on county maintain gravel roads, but trail development is still in progress. Once complete, the preserve will provide a 2-mile paved multi use trail and several miles of single-track soft surface trails which will connect to the WOKA whitewater facility. Additionally, an approximately 3-mile hiking only nature trail is planned for the southern portion of the preserve.
Lake Frances is rich in history including likely Native American sites, wild stories of the resort and it’s famous clientele, and legends of outlaws hiding around the area.