Anniversary celebrations are big events for most families as they spend months planning for their cherished day. The details in planning and the excitement of the event was no different for the Beaver Project Office personnel and community partners as they prepared for and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Beaver Lake and Dam Oct. 6.
“I’m so proud of my staff and our community partners, Beaver Water District, Beaver Lake Foundation, and Beaver Watershed Alliance, for the time, effort and donations we received,” said the Corps’ Beaver Lake Operations Project Manager Sean Harper. “This celebration would not have been as big of a success without them.”
And a success it was.
From politicians to local stakeholders, visitors to neighbors, current and former employees, more than 275 people gathered near the dam to roast and reminiscence about the lake and recognize it for all the benefits it provides to the region.
Each of the featured speakers highlighted the lake’s long list of accomplishments, from providing more than $106.1 million in flood risk reduction, producing enough renewable electricity yearly to power 700,000 homes. The lake provides clean water to more than 500,000 people in the region which has allowed industry to prosper while hosting more than 2 million visitors a year to its 12 parks adding millions of dollars to the local tourism economy.
Little Rock District Commander Col. Robert Dixon, keynote speaker of the celebration, not only focused on how great the Beaver Lake and project was but highlighted people like Bobby Garner and Dale Graham. The people who built the dam and powerhouse.
“Bobby Garner has been an integral part of everything we do as a Corps and represents the Corps of Engineers most valuable asset: the great people who live and work in our communities while serving their nation by building and taking care of its infrastructure,” said Dixon.
To each speaker, Beaver Lake had a special significance.
Rogers High School senior Audrey Klug, Beaver Lake 50th anniversary essay winner, may have summed it up best.
“Beaver Dam has had a huge impact on the State of Arkansas, not only has it helped prevent flood damage, therefore saving money and resources but it has also given Arkansan’ more new and exciting things to do,” said Klug. “So tons of families, including mine, are out on the lake having fun while the dam is still right there, producing electricity and clean water for hundreds of thousands of people state wide.”
All of the speakers and attendees agreed, Beaver Lake has provided so much to the growth of the northwest region of the state and they all look forward to its next 50 years.