COOKSBURG, Pa. – Cook Forest State Park has announced its upcoming programming schedule.
Saturday, August 13 at 2:30 p.m.
‘River Critters’ – Bring your river sneakers, swimsuits, and snorkels to the Park Office as groups will 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. (2 hrs)
Saturday, August 13 at 8:00 p.m.
‘Paddling & Camping the West Branch’ – Bring your chairs and blankets to the Ridge Camp Park Amphitheater, as Dr. Hank Webster talks about his 228-mile kayak trek of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Camping while kayaking long distances will be presented. (0.5 hrs)
Friday, August 19 at 7:00 p.m.
‘Leap Into Herpetology: Intro to Reptiles & Amphibians of Pennsylvania’ – Join local naturalist April Claus at 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 the 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 the park’s ecosystem. Appropriate for children ages 7 and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult. (1 hr)
Saturday, August 20 at 10:00 a.m.
‘Kayaking 301’ – Meet at the Park Office for an advanced skill level kayaking class. Remember to bring your earplugs, swimsuits, sturdy river sneakers, change of clothes, and lunch. Boats and all necessary kayaking gear provided. You WILL get wet. Designed to integrate skills learned in Kayaking 201, the class will continue practicing T-rescues, self recovery, and buddy assists, as well incorporating various throw bag rescues, and dumping with skirts. Kayaking 201 or appropriate equivalent is a pre-requisite for this class. Participants must pre-register prior to the course by contacting Dale Luthringer at 814-744-8475. Only 10 participants will be accepted for this course. Space is limited so please reserve early. Sorry, no children under 16 years old. Minors must be with a participating adult. Participants who successfully complete the Intro to Kayaking, 201, or 301 classes qualify for a 50% discount on future boating programs. (4 hrs)
Friday, August 26 at 8:00 a.m.
Allegheny River Boating Program: West Hickory-Tionesta’ – Join Friends of Cook Forest for a 6.6 mile interpretive canoeing program on the Allegheny River. The group will be putting in at the West Hickory bridge boat launch at the intersections of RT62 & RT127, and plan on making stops at King and Baker Islands highlighting magnificent bottomland forests and wildlife found in the Allegheny River Islands Wilderness Area. King Island represents the finest stand of large stature sycamore and silver maple on the upper stretches of the Allegheny, with Baker Island boasting the tallest known sycamore in Northwestern Pennsylvania, even after surviving the 1985 derecho that tore into the surrounding countryside. Fishing is excellent here, so don’t forget your fishing poles. Promptly meet at the Park Office and car-pool to the starting point at West Hickory. Remember to bring protective footwear, rain gear, and change of clothes. Registration is limited to 10 boats. Cost is $50.00 per boat with check or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Lunch will be provided to those who register by August 22 by calling the Park Office at 814-744-8407. Prior Cook Forest kayak training participants receive a 50% discount. Space is limited, so please reserve early, pre-registration required. (9 hrs)
Saturday, August 27 at 10:00 a.m.
‘Friends of Cook Forest Series: Little Heffern AMD Reclamation’ – Join Friends of Cook Forest and the Clarion Conservation District to learn the basics of acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment. The program will start with a presentation at the park office, then participants will carpool to the AMD treatment site on Tom’s Run Road where you’ll be able to see these principles in action. There will be a stream crossing, so bring a hiking stick and proper footgear. (2 hours)
Friday, September 2 at 7:00 p.m.
‘Night Hike: River Cabins & Cook Trail’ – Meet at the River Cabin Playground on River Road for an evening hike around the River Cabins and Cook Old Growth Area. The group will be looking and listening for critters of the night. This’ll be a great time to see what’s crawling around and in the CCC dynamite shack. Be sure to bring your UV flashlights. (2 hrs)
Saturday, September 3 at 2:00 p.m.
‘A Walk Through the Forest Cathedral’ – 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. (2 hrs)
Saturday, September 3 at 8:00 p.m.
‘Animal Calls’ – Bring your chairs, blankets, and your best animal call imitation to the Ridge Camp Park Amphitheater for an evening of animal calls. Join the park naturalist as he demonstrates how and why animals of PA talk to each other. (1 hr)
Sunday, September 4 at 11:30 a.m.
‘Fire Tower/Seneca Point Historical Tour’ – Bring your binoculars and meet at the Fire Tower Parking Lot for an historical interpretive tour of the Fire Tower and Seneca Point. Learn about local logging history, observe Indian sign, and take a breathtaking view from the top of the Fire Tower. (3 hrs)
Saturday, September 17 at 9:00 a.m.
‘Measuring Pennsylvania’s Champion Hemlocks’ – Are you curious as to how champion trees are measured? What lengths will some go to, to find new big tree discoveries? Does Cook Forest have any champion trees? Join the Friends of Cook Forest at the Park Office to find out how it’s done. (3 hrs)