MAYFLOWER â€“ The Arkansas Game and Fish Commissionâ€™s maintenance shed, clubhouse and dog training facilities at the Camp Robinson Special Use Area have been destroyed by Sundayâ€™s tornado at Mayflower. Other area AGFC facilities such as the H.C. “Red” Morris Natural Resources Conservation and Enforcement Training Center and the Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range were not hit by the tornado.
All events at the facilities are cancelled until further notice.
The Camp Robinson SUA facilities house the agencyâ€™s maintenance equipment and tool shed. A dog training facility also was destroyed. Hunting dog enthusiasts use the facility to train bird dogs, rabbit dogs and waterfowl retrievers. A small campground is located at the facility. There were no campers on the area at the time of the tornado. The area manager’s home also was damaged by the tornado. He and his family were able to reach a storm cellar and were not injured.
Many trees are down on the 4,029-acre management area. The SUA is located approximately nine miles east of Conway adjacent to Lake Conway on Clinton Road. The area is composed of grasslands, oak savanna, an upland oak and hickory forest as well as bottomland hardwood forests.
AGFC fisheries personnel also are removing tornado debris from Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir. The tornado track took it over the lake and rubble from the twister landed in the lake.
Chief of Fisheries Mark Oliver said there’s no way of knowing what debris has been blown into the lake until crews are able to get boats out on the lake. â€œA lot of it will be debris from buildings, roofing materials, insulation, structural materials, household furniture and appliances,â€ he said. â€œThere could be a variety of household goods and products in the lake. One of our biologists saw freezers and other big appliances in the lake,â€ Oliver explained.
AGFC District Fisheries Biologist Tom Bly said one of the agencyâ€™s concerns are the debris blocking the dam gates and hindering the ability to efficiently manage water levels. â€œAnother fear is the navigation hazard of large debris,â€ he added.
The 6,700-acre lake is the largest AGFC-owned lake and the largest lake ever constructed by a state wildlife agency. Because of its large size, central location and excellent fishing, it has been one of the state’s favored fishing spots since it was built on Palarm Creek in 1948. Lake Conway was the first lake constructed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
In response to the tornado, the agencyâ€™s Disaster Response Team, along with local wildlife officers, have been deployed to the area in support of local enforcement agencies. The DRT consists of about 40 wildlife officers from the AGFCâ€™s Enforcement Division.