Tuesday Fitness Fix: Cossatot River State Park

Check here every Tuesday for a
fitness fix rundown. I’ll be on the lookout for running, cycling, tri’s,
adventure races, and other active outlets taking place around the state that I’ll
highlight each week. This week, we take a look at Cossatot River State Park.

Zoie Clift
If you are into
kayaking and canoeing,Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area in Wickes extends
for 12 miles along one of the most rugged river corridors in the central U.S.
Class III and Class IV rapids attract experienced floaters during the season.
The river, the word “Cossatot” is an Indian word meaning
“skull-crusher.”- ouch!, was designated a National Wild and Scenic
River by Congress in 1992.

Preserved within the
park are the Cossatot Falls, where the river snakes over and between upturned
Ouachitas strata to create challenging stretches of whitewater. The area’s
rocks are polished smooth by the river and are among the state’s most scenic
geological creations.

Two species of fish, the
Ouachita Mountain shiner and the leopard darter,have been found nowhere on
earth except in streams of the Ouachita Mountains. The darter, in fact, has
been found in only three of those. Like many minnow-like species, they are
susceptible to changes in their habitat and both require the kind of clean,
moving water found in the upper stretch of the river. Waterfall’s sedge and
Ouachita Mountain twistflower, found only in a few counties in the Ouachita
Mountains, and a number of other sensitive plant species, thrive within the
park’s five natural plant communities.

Though renowned for its
whitewater, be aware that the Cossatot is not consistently at floatable levels.
Floatable river levels are usually limited to late-fall, winter and spring. For
river stage information (in feet) from the Highway 246 access, call 870-
387-3141. Due to flow levels dependent upon rainfall, no floater services are
provided on the river. Also remember that the Cossatot is only for very
experienced floaters as sporting rapids rate up to Class V in difficulty.
you want to enjoy the river but not necessarily be in the water,  the park has other options. The 14-mile River Corridor Trail extends between the Ark. 246
and U.S. 278 areas. The Harris Creek Trail is a four-mile loop starting near
U.S. 278. Waterleaf Trail begins at the east end of the visitor center parking
lot. Brushy Creek Nature Trail, located at the Brushy Creek Recreational Area,
has an ADA accessible portion that allows access to the pedestrian bridge over
the river just south of the Highway 246 Bridge. The total trail is three-
fourths of a mile in length and connects the east side of the recreational area
with the west.

If you are interested in
finding out more, Shelley Flanary, an interpreter at the park, did a great blog
on the park earlier this year. It can be found here.   Happy Tuesday! 

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