Buried deep in Arkansas’ Ouachita National Forest, the Shady Lake Recreation Area includes more than 90 campsites, a swimming beach, a playground, hiking trails, a picnic shelter, and a grass boat ramp. It’s ideal for day hiking.
The existing Recreation Area entrance road, FS 38 (also known as Caddo Road, Shady Lake Road, or County Road 64) was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s and traveled through several private properties before entering Forest Service land. Seasonal high use of the entrance road resulted in high traffic volume that causes conflicts with the private property owners.
For this reason, in 2011 the Forest Service proposed constructing a new entrance road to the Shady Lake Recreation Area to improve visitors’ experiences, provide safe vehicular access, and minimize conflicts with local residents living nearby.
While the Federal Highway Administration and Forest Services’ original Environmental Assessment proposed that the new visitor entrance should not be opened until the multi-phase project was complete, following public input mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Highway Administration and Forest Service decided to open the new road to public traffic upon completion of the project’s first phase.
The decision ensured that visitors would be able to effectively access the area and that nearby residents would benefit from diminished traffic as soon as possible.
 “Environmental Assessment for the Construction of a New Entrance Road to the Shady Lake Recreation Area” U.S. Federal Highway Administration. July 2011. Available at: https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/ar/shady-lake/documents/EA-159-1(2).pdf
 “Finding of No Significant Impact on the Environmental Assessment for the Construction of a New Entrance Road to the Shady Lake Recreation Area.” U.S. Federal Highway Administration. October 3, 2011. Available at: https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/ar/shady-lake/documents/fonsi.pdf