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The Black River’s source is in southeast Missouri. It is formed from three rivers, flows south, and crosses the Arkansas border northeast of Corning. From there, it flows generally southwest. It then passes through the Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), through Randolph County to Pocahontas. Next it flows down to Davidsonville Historic State Park. It crosses into Lawrence County just above the town of Black Rock and continues southwest to the community of Powhatan.
From there, it flows south through the Shirey Bay–Rainey Brake WMA. Here it crosses the southern border of Lawrence County and forms the east-west border between Independence and Jackson counties. It finally turns southeast and enters the White River at Jacksonport just north of Newport. Its Arkansas tributaries are the Little Black, Spring, and Strawberry rivers. With its connection to the White River, it is part of the Mississippi watershed. The Black has numerous sharp bends, many with colorful names. Deadman and Hole in the Wall in the Davidsonville Historic State Park area, as well as, the Box Factory, Battle Axe, and Dead Mule bends in the lower course of the river, to name a few.
The river and the WMAs through which it flows provide abundant opportunities for hunters, fishermen, hikers, and wildlife watchers. The main species of fish within it are largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. Duck, squirrel, deer, rabbit, and turkey hunting are popular along its course, and both the Donaldson and Shirey Bay WMAs offer fine green tree reservoir (woodland duck pond) habitat. There is also a population of furbearers such as beaver, muskrat, mink, and raccoon. Numerous bald and golden eagles winter around Lake Ashbaugh in the Donaldson WMA and can be sighted on or around the lake from November through February.
Several access points are located along the river. Some such as the access under the highway 67 bridge at Pocahontas and at Davidsonville State Park, offer camping, picnic and playground areas.
If you’re in the Pocahontas, AR area be sure to stop in at CAVENAUGH MARINE & SPORTING GOODS. They can fix you up with anything you might need for your river adventure.
MULLIGAN’S RV PARK is the place to park your RV while you’re in the Pocahontas area.