Cook Forest State Park Announces Upcoming Programs

COOKSBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Cook Forest State Park has announced its schedule of upcoming programs for July and August.

Saturday, July 9, at 10:00 a.m. – ‘Sensory Trail Dedication’

Please join us at the Sensory Trail trailhead, located at the end of the access road to the water tower on the hill above the Sawmill Center for the Arts, for the renaming of the Paved Trail to the Sensory Trail. The Friends of Cook Forest and park staff have been busy over the last two years developing interpretive signage for the blind and physically disabled along this recently resurfaced 1/4 mile loop paved trail. (1.5hrs)

Friday, July 22, at 8:00 a.m. – ‘Clarion River Boating Program: Arroyo Bridge-Irwin Run’

Join us for an interpretive guided float down the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River from Arroyo Bridge to Irwin Run. This section of river is rich in local history, and also 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. Lunch and boats provided to those who register by 7/19 by contacting the Park Office at 814-744-8407 or [email protected]

Registration limited to 10 boats. Cost is $50/boat payable by cash, check, or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Lunch, boats, and all boating equipment provided. Prior Cook Forest kayak training participants receive a 50% discount. Register early, available spots go fast. See you on the river! (8 hrs)

Saturday, July 23, at 10:00 a.m. – ‘Friends of Cook Forest Series: Basics of Orienteering’

Ever get lost in Cook Forest? Can you find north? What if it’s dark or you don’t have a map? Please meet at the Nuthole Pavilion, located at the entrance to Ridge Camp, to learn the basics of orienteering with instructor Roger Mazzarella.

Participants will be sent on a short scavenger hunt at the end of the class to test their new skills. We have some compasses available, but encourage you to bring your own. 12 years or older. (2 hrs)

Monday, July 25, at 5:30 p.m. – ‘Family Fishing Program’

The PA Fish & Boat Commission will be offering their Family Fishing Program for families with little or no fishing experience. Participants learn basic fishing skills and to practice those skills while fishing during the program. The program is open to all ages, including children ages 5 and older. Those under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The program is free, and all equipment is provided. No fishing license required! Meet at the Children’s Fishing Pond behind the Park Office. Families must pre-register at https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/183788 (3 hrs)

Thursday, July 28, at 8:00 p.m. – ‘Facts & Fun About Bats’

Join park intern, Laryssa Bauer, at the Ridge Camp Park Amphitheater to learn about Pennsylvania bats. We will be playing up-and-moving games for the young and young at heart! Please bring a chair or blanket to sit. Rain location will be at the Nuthole Pavilion. (1 hr)

Saturday, July 30, at 10:00 a.m. – ‘Walk with Friends: Old Logging Road-Rhododendron Trail’

Join Friends of Cook Forest for a guided hike in the Forest Cathedral. We’ll meet at the Log Cabin Environmental Classroom and carpool to the starting point to walk a 2-mile loop of the Old Logging Road and the Rhododendron Trail. We’ll see some spectacular old-growth trees, hopefully hear thrushes and warblers, talk about some local history, and discuss invasive plants to be seen along the way. (2 hrs)

Friday, August 5, at 8:00 a.m. – ‘Clarion River Boating Program: Spring Creek-Heath Pump Station’

Join us for an interpretive guided float down the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River from Spring Creek to Heath Pump Station. We’ll learn about the lumber & wood chemical industry at Halton, float past remnants of one of the largest lumber mills on the Clarion at Pine Rapid, and take a 1 mile hike up one of the drainages along the way to view unique rock formations. 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.

Lunch and boats provided to those who register by 8/2 by contacting the Park Office at 814-744-8407 or [email protected] Registration limited to 10 boats. Cost is $50/boat payable by cash, check, or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Lunch, boats, and all boating equipment provided. Prior Cook Forest kayak training participants receive a 50% discount. Register early, available spots go fast. See you on the river! (8 hrs)

Saturday, August 6, at 12:00 p.m. – ‘Snorkeling on the Clarion’

Please bring your mask & snorkels to the Park Office to search the river for aquatic insects and fish. This is a great opportunity to see fish and macros up close and undisturbed in their natural habitat. It’s a totally different world down there. (2 hrs)

Friday, August 12, at 10:00 a.m. – ‘Kayaking 201’

Please meet at the Park Office for an advanced skill level kayaking class. Remember to bring your swimsuits, sturdy river sneakers, change of clothes, lunch, snack & water. Boats and all necessary kayaking gear provided. We WILL get wet!

Designed to integrate skills learned in ACA’s Introduction to Kayaking, we will be learning T-Rescues, Self Recovery, and Buddy Assists. Participants must pre-register by 8/9 by contacting Dale Luthringer at 814-744-8475. We’re only accepting 8 participants for this course. Sorry, no children under 12 years old. Minors must be with a participating adult. Space is limited, so please reserve early.

This course can be used as a pre-requisite to Kayaking 301 and to justify skill level requisites for future wilderness boating programs. Participants who successfully complete our Intro to Kayaking, 201, or 301 classes qualify for a 50% discount on future boating programs. (4 hrs)

Friday, August 12 at 9:00 p.m. – ‘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 one of the following free apps, SKYVIEW or NIGHT SKY, on their cell phones. Rain or heavy cloud cover date is Saturday, August 13, at 9:00 p.m. (1.5hrs)


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