Though not necessary, sometimes a Sunday drive can prove to be very fruitful, an occasion to once again strike a line through an Arkansas Bucket List Item. One such drive occurred a few weeks ago, as we decided to forego sleeping in and head 135 miles southwest of Russellville to the Cossatot River State Park – Natural Area.
Located on Highway 278 near the sleepy little town of Wickes, this area has got to be one of the highlights of the Ouachitas. Not only is it designated as a state park, touting an impressive visitor’s center loaded with informative exhibits….
but it also holds the title of Natural Area. According the the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission:
Natural areas are lands specifically managed to preserve, and sometimes restore, natural communities that have become rare. Natural areas are more than just a glimpse into the past. What these areas ultimately can provide are blueprints for understanding how Arkansas’s diverse ecosystems originally functioned. Such information will be especially vital as Arkansas continues to develop and address important environmental issues into the future.
What I notice about Natural Areas is that they are less developed, more primitive, but extremely appreciated. In fact when it is flowing, the Cossatot River is a favorite with skilled canoeists, rafters and kayakers, due to the Class III, IV and V rapids!
It’s also a favorite among photographers.
My brother had told me that, even without a lot of water, the rock formations along the river are breathtaking. We had hoped to see more water since Arkansas had experienced more than normal rain in August and September, but, needless to say, he was correct!
Heading back towards the Ozarks through the Ouachitas, most of the day was expended on this venture. Impressed by the spectacular beauty of yet another site in our beloved state, we felt it was definitely time well spent.