COOKSBURG – The following programs are planned for July and August at Cook Forest State Park:
• Saturday, July 18 at 10 a.m. — “Hike to the Seneca & Mohawk Hemlocks.” Meet at the Park Office for a strenuous hike through the finest tall old growth hemlock stand north of the Smokies. The group will visit both the magnificent Mohawk and Seneca Hemlocks, some of the tallest and largest known hemlocks in the Northeast, as well as viewing 160-170-foot-tall white pines.
• Thursday, July 23 at 9 a.m. — “B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Boat): Gravel Lick-Cooksburg Float.” Bring your own boat to the new Park Office for an interpretive guided float down the Wild & Scenic Clarion River. Don’t forget your fishing poles. Bald eagles and soft-shelled turtles often make an appearance. Folks must pre-register by contacting the Park Office at (814) 744-8407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is limited to 10 boats. The cost is $20 per boat payable by check or money order to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior Cook Forest kayak training participants receive a 50 percent discount. Register early, as available spots go fast.
• Friday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. — “Night Fishin’ the Clarion.” The National Wild & Scenic Clarion River contains many different kinds of fish and wildlife that are very active at night. Fish that are often wary during the day come out of their hiding spots at night to feed. Smallmouth bass and brook trout can be readily caught during daylight, but big brownies, catfish and walleye are often on the prowl at night. Bring fishing poles, lanterns and bait to the Park Office where the group will car-pool to fishing hotspots along the river.
• Saturday, July 25 at 9 a.m. — “Hike Cook Forest Series: Maple Drive Old Growth Area.” Meet at the Park Office to drive and then hike into the seldom visited old growth forests off Maple Drive. Ancient hardwoods abound in this trail-less section of the park. Oak, maple, cherry, beech and cucumbertrees often surpass 250 years old here, but where are all the ancient conifers? Help remeasure the Maple Drive Pine, one of the tall 160-foot class pines found in Cook Forest.
• Thursday, July 30 at 9 a.m. — “B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Boat): Maple Creek four-mile.” Bring your own boat to the new Park Office for an interpretive guided float down the Wild & Scenic Clarion River. This is a great float to observe river otter sign and bypass all that busy innertube traffic further down river. Registration is limited to 10 boats. The cost is $20 per boat payable by check or money order to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior Cook Forest kayak training participants receive a 50 percent discount. Register early, as available spots go fast.
• Friday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. — “Spotting Pennsylvania’s Elusive White-tail Deer.” Bring spotlights and meet at the Park Office for an evening driving tour as participants car-pool to Cook Forest’s white-tail hotspots. Come learn about the natural history of our commonwealth’s state mammal, as we cruise the park searching for this elusive animal.
• Saturday, Aug. 1 at 9 a.m. — “Hike Cook Forest Series: Deer Meadow Old Growth Area.” Meet at the entrance of Forest Drive for an interpretive hike into the seldom visited old growth forests off Deer Meadow Trail. Help remeasure the Gas Line Hemlock, the largest double stem hemlock in the park, last measured at over 17-feet around. Participants will also work their way to the Susquehannock Hemlock, the largest known hemlock in the Northeast. Much of this hike will be off-trail through thick brush and hidden bowling ball size rocks. Sturdy knees and ankles are required.
• Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 13-15 at 9 a.m. — Cook Forest State Park will conduct a three-day Clarion River History Educator Workshop. This course is considered both an Advanced Watershed Education and Pennsylvania Land Choices workshop. Teachers will receive a copy of the Pennsylvania Land Choices curriculum, as well as copies of “True Tales of the Clarion River,” “Dinkies Dams & Sawdust: The Logging Railroads of West Central Pennsylvania Book 12” and “Expedition of Celoron to the Ohio Country in 1749.” Teachers will also have the option to earn 23 ACT 48 hours. This workshop will emphasize the history of the Clarion River through various first-person living history character portrayals during the mid-1700s French & Indian War and mid-1800s lumber boom era. Teachers will also investigate and document various lumber ghost towns and raft fabrication sites along the Clarion River via car and canoe, as well as gain valuable insight into how local history can be incorporated into the classroom. Day 1 will mainly deal with learning history through “living history.” Days 2-3 will be historic site investigation from land and canoe. Be prepared to be in the river being wet and muddy most days. Sturdy river shoes are a must. Participants must be able to traverse slippery footing conditions and steep river banks. Secure registration by Aug. 7 by contacting Dale Luthringer at (814) 744-8407. The cost is $125 payable by check or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and sent to: Cook Forest State Park, ATTN: CRHEW, P.O. Box 120, Cooksburg, PA 16217.
• Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all park programs are limited to 25 participants (unless otherwise stated), masks must be on person, social distancing in effect. All participants must register at the Park Office at (814) 744-8407 or email@example.com.