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A Lot To Learn in Cook Forest

Friday, August 11 at 1:00 pm - ‘Fire Tower/Seneca Point Historical Tour’ Please bring your binoculars and meet at the Fire Tower Parking Lot for an historical interpretive tour of the Fire Tower and Seneca Point by DCNR Conservation Volunteer, Greg Burns. Learn about local logging history, observe Indian sign, and take a breathtaking view from the top of the Fire Tower. (2 hrs)

Friday, August 11 at 9:00 pm - ‘Friends of Cook Forest: Meteor Shower & Stargazing’ Please meet at the Ridge Camp Park Amphitheater to learn about the constellations and watch the Perseid Meteors put on their annual show. Attendees should bring a chair & flashlight and are urged to download the free app, SKYVIEW, on their cell phones. Rain or heavy cloud cover date is Saturday, August 12 at 9:00 pm. (1.5hrs)

Saturday, August 12 at 11:00 am - ‘River Critters’ Please bring your river sneakers, swimsuits, and snorkels to the River Cabins playground parking lot where we will drive to local streams and rivers 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. (3 hrs)

Friday, August 18 at 8:30 am - ‘Clarion River Boating Program: Portland Mills-Arroyo’ Cook Forest State Park will be conducting a 6-mile interpretive paddling program from Portland Mills to Arroyo Bridge for experienced canoeists/kayakers only. This section of river is rich in local history. We will pass evidence of the old log booms & mills at Portland Mills as well as bridge remnants of the Clarion River Railway. Come see where John Cobb’s mill was located before he was flooded out at Beech Bottom. Bald eagles & osprey often make an appearance in this secluded wilderness section of the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. We will meet promptly at the Park Office and car-pool to the starting point up-river. Remember to pack water, protective footwear, raingear, and change of clothes. Don’t forget your fishing poles! Cost is $40/boat with check or money order made out to ‘Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’. Boats provided to those who register by 8/14. Pre-registration required by contacting the Park Office at (814)744-8407. Program limited to 10 boats. Please pack a lunch and bring plenty of water. Prior Cook Forest kayak training participants receive a 50% discount. See you on the river! (8 hrs)

Saturday, August 19 at 12:00 pm - ‘Snorkeling the Clarion’ Please bring your mask & snorkels to the River Cabins playground parking lot to search the river for aquatic insects and fish. This is a great opportunity to see fish and bugs up close and undisturbed in their natural habitat. It’s a totally different world down there. Children must be with participating adult. (2 hrs)

Friday, August 25 at 7:00 pm - ‘Leap Into Herpetology: Intro to Reptiles & Amphibians of Pennsylvania’ Join local naturalist April Claus at the Nuthole Pavilion, located at the entrance to Ridge Camp, as she introduces you to things that creep, swim, and slither in the diverse habitats at our beloved Cook Forest State Park! April will show you the differences between native “herp” species using live species, touchable models, turtle shells and other educational materials.  Learn how to identify frogs and toads by their call.  This will help you to sharpen your identification skills and learn more about the microhabitat needed to support these secretive creatures.  You will be amazed at the important role these animals play in our park’s ecosystem!  Appropriate for children ages 7 and up.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.  (1 hr)

Saturday, August 26 at 9:00 am - ‘Explore Clarion River Lands: Highland Drive Old Growth Area’. Please meet at the Park Office where we will car-pool to our kick-off point for a challenging off-trail hike to the seldom seen Highland Drive Old Growth Area. This small 7 acre stand of ancient trees lies on a steep boulder slope along the Clarion River. Its origin is mysterious in that all areas around it are young forest. Choice hemlocks here likely surpass 300 years of age, with select black birch and chestnut oak to 200. This challenging 3 mile hike is not for the physically unfit. Remember to bring your sturdy comfortable hiking shoes, walking stick, and plenty of water. (3 hrs)

Friday, September 1 at 8:30 am - ‘Clarion River Boating Program: Arroyo Bridge-Spring Creek’. Cook Forest State Park will be conducting a 5.4 mile interpretive guided float down the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River from Arroyo Bridge to Spring Creek. This section of river is rich in local history and contains the most challenging set of rapids on the river, “THE X,Y,Z”. We will be passing remnants of the Arroyo Tannery and have lunch along the abandoned Clarion River Railway near the Lilly Pond. This is a true wilderness experience. Fishing is excellent here so don’t forget your poles! Only experienced boaters permitted. Please meet at the Park Office where we will drive to the starting point. Please pack a lunch and bring plenty of water. Boats provided to those who register by 8/28 by contacting the Park Office at (814) 744-8407. Registration limited to 10 boats. Cost is $40/boat payable by cash, check, or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior Cook Forest kayak training participants receive a 50% discount. (8 hrs)

Saturday, September 2 at 3:00 pm - ‘A Walk Through the Forest Cathedral’. Please meet at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom for an interpretive hike into the Forest Cathedral, a registered National Natural Landmark. Learn how to identify old growth forest characteristics and observe different types of environmental disturbance that are an integral part of old growth forest ecosystems. (2hrs)

Sunday, September 3 at 11:30 am - ‘Fire Tower/Seneca Point Historical Tour’. Please bring your binoculars and meet at the Fire Tower Parking Lot for an historical interpretive tour of the Fire Tower and Seneca Point.


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