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Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (closed for certain holidays and special events). Group activities are scheduled by appointment only. Day-use activities are welcome. Activities are funded by the 1/8th cent Conservation Sales Tax Amendment 75, thus are free to school and approved groups. Please register at the education center upon arrival.
Potlatch Conservation Education Center (PCEC) at Cook's Lake near Casscoe, is a conservation education facility that operates under a joint agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. It is located 20 miles southeast of Stuttgart on the White River National Wildlife Refuge. The 72-acre facility is surrounded by 1,850 acres of upland and bottomland hardwood forest that includes a two-mile long oxbow lake and a 40-acre green timber reservoir.
In 1947, Lion Oil Company purchased the entire Cook's Lake property from various landowners. Some owned small parcels while others owned rather significant portions of land. They constructed a 4,800 sq. ft. lodge, which was used primarily as a duck-hunting lodge. In 1967, Lion Oil Company sold the Cook's Lake property to Mark Townsend of Stuttgart. Mr. Townsend retained ownership of the property until 1971. He then sold it to Potlatch, Inc., but retained lifetime hunting and fishing privileges. Upon his death in 1997, the property reverted to the exclusive control of Potlatch.
In 1999, a unique agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation, and Potlatch, Inc. created the opportunity for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to purchase 1,850 acres of Cooks Lake. In turn Potlatch donated 72 acres to the Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation. This included the lodge, residence, shop, and various other outbuildings. Also included in the donation was 65 acres of bottomland hardwood forest.
Through a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission the unit known as Cook's Lake will be preserved for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and plant resources for present and future generations to learn about.
Special deer hunts for youth and the mobility impaired are coordinated by the USFWS on the Cook's Lake property. Call the USFWS at 870-282-8200 for more information.
The Cook’s Lake area offers 1,850 acres of upland and bottomland hardwood habitats along with a two-mile long ox-bow lake and a 40-acre green-timber reservoir. Courses offered to students and teachers cover a wide range of subjects programmed around the existing area.
With the varied of vegetation found surrounding Cook's Lake, any season offers an array of inviting photo sites. Visit during any season to find and photograph beautiful and unique scenes. Whether you are looking for large scenes or concentrating on smaller sites of nature, you will find them at the Cook's Lake area. Reservations are not required for day-use visits with this activity.
The area surrounding Cook's Lake has a variety of birds, some year-round residents, some only migrating through seasonally. Over 140 species of birds have been observed and identified at different times during the year. Reservations are not required for day-use visits with this activity.
Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook's Lake
P.O. Box 509
Casscoe, AR 72026
For more information regarding the Potlatch Conservation Education Center, contact us by phone and/or www.cookslakecec.com.