Lake Leatherwood – Eureka Springs



Nestled in the Ozark Mountains north of the famous downtown tourist area of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Lake Leatherwood Park is a 1,610 acre natural area that has a rich history.

Following extensive logging in the West Leatherwood Creek watershed, a basin was needed to reduce soil erosion and collect sediment runoff from the hillslopes.  The USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in the late 1930’s, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, designed the Lake Leatherwood Dam to be constructed on the West Leatherwood Creek for the purpose of reducing soil erosion and to serve as a recreational feature for people to enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating and included a bathhouse with restroom facilities. The dam was completed in 1940.  In 1955 the  City of Eureka Springs acquired the 1,610 acres and Lake Leatherwood, now known as Lake Leatherwood Park, and has managed the area since that time.

In 2015 the City of Eureka Springs began having concerns over accumulated sediments in the Lake which has brought several potential problems to the City’s attention.  Accumulated sediment in the upstream section of the lake has reduced the lake depth, which can inadvertently create an environment that promotes algae blooms, support invasive aquatic vegetation, such as parrot feather and attract flocks of Canadian geese. All of which can degrade water quality and limit the recreation value of Lake Leatherwood.  The City recently closed the swimming area because of the reduced aesthetics along the shoreline.

Watershed Conservation Resource Center will help the City of Eureka Springs to…

  • Evaluate West Leatherwood Creek 13 mile watershed
  • Evaluate the condition of Lake Leatherwood
  • Develop solutions to rehabilitate the Lake

The project involves the Watershed Conservation Resource Center,  the City of Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation, and Public Volunteers participating in outreach activities.

Additional Project Photos