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New Swimming Restrictions Posted At Sugarloaf Lake

SUGARLOAF (KFSM)– With summer just around the corner, many people are looking forward to going to pools and lakes to swim, but one local lake that’s...

SUGARLOAF (KFSM)-- With summer just around the corner, many people are looking forward to going to pools and lakes to swim, but one local lake that's been a popular swimming spot for years has a new set of rules for swimmers.

Sugarloaf Lake has been a popular fishing and swimming spot for more than 5 decades.

“My mother swam here as a kid,” Christina Blansett, a Sugarloaf resident, said. “I learned to swim on this lake. My sister learned to swim on this lake. Those are all gone.”

People like Blansett coming to swim at the lake were surprised to find a sign posted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission that simply said, “no swimming.”

“It was ridiculous,” Blansett said. “Everybody comes out here to swim.”

According to the AGFC’s Facebook, the ban only applies to swimming off the shore. You can still swim off of private boat docks and boats.

The post goes on to say that this is all for fishermen to have more room and to keep swimmers safe, but many people are upset, and for some this ban means a lot more than the end of summer fun.

“It's going to hurt me bad,” Roy Jones, who owns Sugarloaf Country Store, said. “Two to three years I might be out of business.”

Jones has owned the store for 18 years, but he said he was given no warning about the new rules.

Jones said many people who swim at the lake don't own boats or have access to the private docks, so they're going to have to swim somewhere else.

“When school's out, that's just about my whole income,” Jones said “I've got hundreds of dollars-worth of swimming stuff, that's just going to sit on the shelf if there's no swimming.”

Jones said he has started a petition to try to get the game and fish commission to change their minds, but for now he's just trying to stay in business.

“I'll just have to go until I can't go no more,” Jones said.

5News spoke with one fisherman who did not want to go on camera, but said he was glad they put up the signs because there has been a problem with people littering in the past.

The game and fish commission said on their Facebook that littering was a factor in making the new restrictions.

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