DECEMBER 2, 2019

Arkansas: Sunset Lake Gleams with ROTC Work

BENTON — A Junior ROTC troop from Benton High School recently helped put a shine to Sunset Lake, a popular public fishing spot in central Arkansas and Saline County.

According to Timothy Farmer, LTC (Retired) U.S. Army and Senior Army Instructor at the school, the project was coordinated by Sarissa Strandlund, the Cadet Battalion Commander. Originally scheduled for a Saturday in October, a heavy rain forced postponement for a mild, clear Saturday, Nov. 9, with 13 cadets and Farmer ready to go at 9 a.m.

“The guys there told us what they needed done and we worked the different projects until just after 11 or so,” Farmer said. “We circled that lake picking up trash. We emptied the existing barrels and replaced bags. We had some cadets helping to trim some of the limbs hanging over the path around the lake. We had some cadets help to paint the yellow barriers on the pathway. We also had some cadets out on the lake in their kayaks helping to get trash and to recover some of the orange barrels that were in the water.”

Sunset Lake is part of the lineup of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Family and Community ponds. It is stocked in warmer months with catfish.

Farmer said the project was perfect for his cadet group. “Community service and involvement is a big part of JROTC,” he said. “Our cadets log close to 5,000 total hours over the course of a school year. This is the first time that we have done this project, but we will definitely do it again if we have the chance.”

According to Lisa Spencer, who operates Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton, Sunset Lake is a good destination not only for catfish, but to catch black bass, crappie and bream. Catfish are typically stocked from the spring until as late as September of each year. The daily limit for catfish at Sunset Lake is 3.

Sunset Lake is located on Henry Street off Fairfield Road past the Saline County Fairgrounds (which can be seen from Interstate 30). The area has a paved 1-mile walking trail all around the lake, along with picnic tables, pavilion, and a fishing pier and boat ramp. The waters are open to electric trolling motors only.