COOKSBURG – The following programs have been scheduled this fall at Cook Forest State Park:
• Saturday, Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. — “Walk with Friends: Baker Trail Ramble.” Join Friends of Cook Forest for a hike along the Baker Trail from Iron Bridge Road to the Fish and Boat Commission launch area below Gravel Lick. The group will meet at the Park Office and drive to the starting point, then carpool back to Iron Bridge Road at the end. This easy, mostly downhill hike follows old logging roads along scenic Cather’s Run.
• Saturday, Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. — “Wilderness Survival: Primitive Fire Building and Food Preparation.” Meet at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom to learn various fire starting techniques. The group will then prepare lunch and car-pool to the Black Bear Trail area to use new found fire starting skills to cook lunch. The cost is $30 with a 20 person limit. All participants will receive a “Fire N’ Five” fire starting kit and food for their meals. Participants must pre-register by Sept. 28 by calling the Park Office at (814) 744-8407.
• Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. — “Night Hike: Ridge Camp.” Meet at the Ridge Camp Park Amphitheater for an evening hike in the old growth forest around Ridge Camp. Participants will be looking and listening for critters of the night. Be sure to bring UV flashlights.
• Saturday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. — “Cook Forest Conservancy Series: Resilience and Habitat Diversity Through Sustainable Forestry.” Join the Foundation for Sustainable Forests at Shelter No. 2 to learn about forest age, species diversity, resilience and the worst-first approach to timber harvesting. The presentation will be followed by lunch and an optional short woods walk to highlight these timber stand management practices. The program is free, but guests are asked to RSVP at www.facebook.com/ev ents/389189959842571.
• Thursday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. — “New ADA Hunting Area.” Join DCNR and PA Game Commission staff to learn about Cook Forest’s new opportunity for disabled hunters. Cook Forest and its Friends Group recently received grant funding to improve road access on a newly acquired tract of land. The talk will include wildlife habitat management and how the road improvement project and land acquisition were made possible. Meet at the Park Office where the group will then drive 4.5 miles to take a look at recent and future improvements.
• Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8 a.m. — “Cook Forest Fall Workday.” Jobs may include trail maintenance, litter pickup, painting, wood stacking, etc. Free camping Friday and Saturday night will be available for volunteers with prior notice received by Oct. 7. Those planning to join for the day, are asked to contact the Park Office at (814) 744-8407 at least two weeks in advance so that a volunteer project can be lined up. Lunch provided. Meet at the Maintenance Complex to receive assigned tasks.
• Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. — “Cook Forest Conservancy Series: Make Biochar in Your Backyard.” Join Gary Gilmore, retired service forester, to learn how to make charcoal/biochar — a long-lasting, renewable and effective soil improvement. Demonstration will be outside, at Shelter No. 2. Dress for the weather. The program is free, but guests are asked to RSVP on Facebook: www.facebook.com/even ts/1096962970916216.
• Monday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. — “Cathedral by Candlelight.” Want to experience something different this year for Halloween instead of the standard trick-or-treaters? Walk back in time into the depths of the Forest Cathedral with a historical character from the past. Come view the ancient forest beneath the giants by candlelight within the picturesque Tom’s Run Valley. Either a French Marine from the 1750s who saw these massive trees 250 years ago, or a lumberman from the 1800s, will be there as guides. The program begins at the Park Office. Bring flashlights.
• Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. — “Spotting Pennsylvania’s Elusive White-tail Deer.” Bring spotlights and meet at the new Park Office Conference Room for an evening driving tour.
as the group car-pools to Cook Forest’s white-tail hotspots. Participants will learn about the natural history of the commonwealth’s state mammal, and cruise the park searching for this elusive animal.