Davy Ashcraft has been promoted to park superintendent of Cossatot River State Park – Natural Area. Stretching out for 5,401 acres, Cossatot emphasizes outdoor recreation, river preservation, and environmental education. The park is managed by Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.
“It was clear in the interview that his passion for the park started in his youth, where he grew up and explored the Cossatot River corridor extensively,” said Arkansas State Parks Operations Manager Mike Wilson. “He is well-rounded in his knowledge and experience in regards to the park’s operation and mission statement, which focuses on education and preservation of the natural resources.”
After graduating from Henderson State University and completing brief seasonal park interpretive duties with Arkansas State Parks, he started his career at Cossatot River as a full-time park interpreter in the spring of 2004. In 2006, he became Cossatot River’s park ranger and was promoted to assistant park superintendent in the fall of 2009. Also in his 14 years with ASP, he has gained certifications in search and rescue (SAR TECH II), swift water rescue, law enforcement instructor and as a prescribed burn boss.
“I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to manage my boyhood outdoor playground,” said Ashcraft. “My wife Celeste and our three daughters Cassidy, Carmindy, and Camilla also love making our home at this amazing park.”
This park-natural area stretches for 12 miles along the wild and scenic Cossatot River, Arkansas’s premier whitewater experience renowned as the best whitewater float stream in mid-America. Located in southwest Arkansas south of Mena, the Cossatot forms Cossatot Falls, a rugged and rocky canyon that challenges the most experienced canoeists and kayakers with its Class IV and V rapids. When the water is high, the paddlers are here. This National Wild and Scenic River is a watershed basin with flow levels dependent on rainfall. After significant precipitation, the river level rises, allowing experienced paddlers the opportunity to test their skills in challenging whitewater. In the river’s cossatot falls area with its distinct ledges, the river drops 33 feet in elevation within 1/3 of a mile.