Commissioners gather to dedicate lake

CONWAY (AGFC)– Past and present commissioners from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, elected officials, family and friends gathered at the Lake Conway dam Nov. 17 to dedicate a new name: Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir.

 Campbell, who completed his term on the Commission June 30, 2011, was on hand as AGFC Director Loren Hitchcock addressed the crowd. "This was not an easy lake to come by," Hitchcock said. "It's a fitting honor to name this lake on his behalf."

Hitchcock referred to years of effort by local leaders to create the lake, which covers 6,700 acres and is the largest lake built by a state conservation agency. Construction on the dam on Palarm Creek began in late 1950 and was completed July 4, 1951. The lake has been known for years for good crappie, catfish, bream and bass fishing.

"Naming this lake after Craig is certainly fitting for all the work he's done," said AGFC Chairman George Dunklin before he introduced Campbell.

Campbell said he appreciated the gesture, and told the history of the lake to make it clear that those who had the vision were the ones to thank.  "As I told a newspaper reporter, this lake has been, is today and always will be Lake Conway," Campbell said. He praised local dentist James Flanagin and Walter Dunaway, who later became Conway mayor, for leading the charge in the 1940s. Campbell paid for a plaque set in rock near the dam to honor those who pushed for the lake.

"I am very thankful we have this resource in Arkansas," Campbell said. The lake was built for $150,000; $68,000 of that was spent on the dam. Local fundraising brought in $39,000, an amazing amount for the late 1940s.

"I'm elated the Commission chose to name this lake after Craig," Hitchcock said. "He has a generous heart and a strong will."