FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information, Contact:
Sam Ledbetter, 501-396-5400
FRIENDS OF LAKE ERLING ASSOCIATION FILES SUIT
AGAINST THE AGRED FOUNDATION OVER PUBLIC
ACCESS TO LAKE ERLING
Little Rock, AR (March 10, 2016)
On March 8, 2016, Friends of Lake Erling Association (FOLEA) filed a declaratory judgment action against the AGRED Foundation (AGRED) in the Circuit Court of Lafayette County, Arkansas. This lawsuit seeks a determination that the public has an unrestricted right of access to Lake Erling located in Lafayette County, Arkansas, as guaranteed under the Act of Exchange between International Paper Company and the United States of America. The Act of Exchange was signed in 1952 and allowed International Paper Company to construct Lake Erling partially on land owned by the USA. The lawsuit also seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent AGRED from restricting the public’s right to use the lake for boating, fishing, hunting and recreation.
From its creation in 1956 until recently, the public has enjoyed unrestricted access to Lake Erling under the Act of Exchange. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has stocked Lake Erling with fish and cooperated in the management of Lake Erling for the benefit of the public.
Recently, AGRED has attempted to place restrictions on the public’s right of unrestricted access to, and use of Lake Erling. AGRED has asserted that it is entitled to charge an annual use fee and require that the public first obtain a permit from AGRED before accessing Lake Erling. Recently, AGRED erected signs at Lake Erling Park that state, “Starting March 2016 Vehicles will be towed at owner’s expense for not displaying the AGRED Foundation Boat & Trailer decals for motorized boats. Decals must be affixed to front left of boat and on the left side of boat trailer tongue.” AGRED’s efforts to restrict public access to Lake Erling violate the Act of Exchange and the public’s established right of unrestricted use and access to Lake Erling.
FOLEA is a non-profit group organized for the purposes of promoting the conservation of Lake Erling through education and other means and to support public access to Lake Erling. The membership of FOLEA consists of individuals who either own real property adjacent to Lake Erling or rent property adjacent to Lake Erling and have, in the past, enjoyed the unrestricted right to boat, hunt, fish, and engage in recreational activities on Lake Erling.
FOLEA is represented by Sam Ledbetter of McMath Woods P.A., and Joseph Hamilton Kemp, PLLC. Questions regarding this lawsuit, or requests for more information may be directed to Sam Ledbetter of McMath Woods P.A., at 501-396-5400.