COOKSBURG – The following programs are planned in September and October at Cook Forest State Park:

• Friday, Sept. 3 at 8:30 p.m. — “Night Hike: Fire Tower, Seneca Point Caves & Rocks.” Meet at the Fire Tower parking lot for a night hike in, around and under the rocks of Seneca Point. Participants will look and listen for animals that go bump in the night, and explore the caves and crevices they live in. Bring hardhats and headlamps.

• Saturday, Sept. 4 at 9 a.m. — “Tour to the Ancient Trees of Ridge Camp.” Did you know that ancient trees abound within and around our family campground? Both the Ridge Camp and Seneca Forest Old Growth Areas surround the campsites, with some trees surpassing 300 years old. Meet at the park amphitheater to join a walk rediscovering ancient trees in the park’s own “backyard.”

• Saturday, Sept. 4 at 12:30 p.m. — “River Critters.” Bring river sneakers, swimsuits, mask and snorkels to the Park Office as participants drive to various sections of the Clarion River to search for and identify hard to find underwater creatures. Various species of fish, mussels, snakes and salamanders often make an appearance. Children must be with a participating adult. Low clearance vehicles are not suggested due to access to some of these areas.

• Sunday, Sept. 5 at 11:30 a.m. — “Fire Tower Historical Tour.” Bring binoculars to the Fire Tower for a historical tour of Fire Tower No. 9 conducted by park intern, Laryssa Bauer. Take in the breathtaking view from the box at the very top of the Fire Tower and learn how it operated. The tower will be open until 2:30 p.m.

• Saturday, Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. — “Bike with Friends.” Bring your bicycle and join the Friends of Cook Forest for a guided ride up the Tom’s Run Valley. The group will start at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom and pedal slightly uphill four miles along Tom’s Run Road to Lencer Drive, then coast back to the starting point. The group may stop at some historical sites along the way, including the long abandoned logging village of Cobbtown. Tom’s Run Road will be closed to vehicle traffic during the ride.

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• Sunday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. — “Walk in Penn’s Woods.” Join the Friends of Cook Forest at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom for a Walk in Penn’s Woods. Participants will celebrate the beauty of Pennsylvania’s forests with an interpretive hike along the Liggett, Heffern Run and Brown’s Run trails.

• Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. — “Animal Calls.” Bring chairs and blankets to the Ridge Camp Park Amphitheater for an evening of animal calls. Join the park naturalist as he demonstrates how and why animals of Pennsylvania talk to each other.

• Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8-9 — “Spooky Nights Halloween Decorating Competition.” Join the fun of competing and judging campsite decorations at Ridge Camp. All proceeds will benefit the Ridge Camp playground equipment replacement fund. The event is hosted by the Friends of Cook Forest. Please refer to the Camp Fright flyer or contact cffriendstreas@gmail.com for more information.

• Saturday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. — “Cathedral by Candlelight: History of Cook Forest Through the Eyes of an 1800s Lumberjack.” Meet at the Park Office to take a walk back in time with a lumberman from the 1800s who will lead the group on a candlelit tour through the Cook Homestead, then show participants the old bracket dam along Tom’s Run. The program is sponsored by Kalyumet Campground.

• Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8 a.m. — “Cook Forest Fall Workday.” Consider joining volunteers for the day to help maintain the park through various work projects. Jobs may include trail maintenance, litter pickup, painting, wood stacking, etc. Free camping Friday and Saturday nights will be available for volunteers with prior notice received by Monday, Oct. 4. Those planning to join in should contact the Park Office at (814) 744-8407 at least two weeks in advance to have a volunteer project lined up. Lunch will not be provided this year due to COVID-19.

• Saturday, Oct. 30 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 with us into the depths of the Forest Cathedral with a historical character from the past. Come view the ancient forest as participants walk beneath the giants by candlelight. 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. Bring flashlights.

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