COOK FOREST

Preservation area of old growth forest with giant White Pine, Hemlock and Beech trees


Beginnings of Cook Forest...

In the 1920's, the Cook Forest Association was formed to save a few areas of old growth timber. In 1927, funds raised by the association helped the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchase 6,055 acres. Cook Forest was the first Pennsylvania State Park purchased to preserve a natural landmark. Today, Cook Forest State Park covers 8,500 acres and is popular with hikers, bikers, and campers. It's located next to the Allegheny National Forest.

Cook Forest State Park offers:
  • Scenic views of old growth forest
  • 29 miles of hiking trails
  • 12 miles of snowmobile trails
  • 11.5 miles of bicycle trails
  • 4.5 miles of bridle trails
  • 7,000 acres of hunting
  • Fishing & canoeing
  • Cabins & camping areas
  • Environmental education
Cook Forest State Park entrance
Cook Forest log cabin built by the CCC Environmental Learning Center
with displays of logging tools
and tree growth rings
 

The Center is one of the
log cabins built by the
Civilian Conservation Corps
in the 1930's

Environmental Learning Center

Clarion River

The Clarion River runs along the eastern border of Cook Forest State Park and is popular for rafting and canoeing. The name was derived by surveyor Daniel Stanard who said "the ripple of the river sounds like a distant clarion" (a trumpet call)


 

FOREST CATHEDRAL

This text was used to raise funds for the purchase of Cook Forest in 1927:

"This wood will become a forest monument, like those of the West, known not only in Pennsylvania, but throughout the country. The East possesses few scenes more impressive than this magnificent area of primeval white pine, surrounded by giant hemlocks and hardwoods. The venerable splendor of these trees is a heritage for the future of the State. Many of them have lifted their heads to the sunshine for more than two hundred summers and the largest of them were here before the colonization of America."

Cook Forest

Entering Cook Forest Trails

Calm quiet scene along
the Longfellow Trail

  

Annual Tree Growth Rings

Display uses a cross section
of a former forest giant to
graphically demonstrate
its 200-plus year age

tree growth rings

Forest Cathedral Natural Area
Cook Forest State Park

The Forest Cathedral Natural Area contains one of the largest old growth forests of white pine and eastern hemlock in Pennsylvania. Many of these magnificent pine and hemlock now exceed three feet in diameter and approach 200 feet in height. Trees of this size are often over 300 years of age; dating to the era of William Penn, the first Governor of "Penn's Woods," and are often referred to as "William Penn Trees." It is perhaps fitting that this forest remains in the midst of an area which saw the greatest logging boom in the history of the Commonwealth - the period of the late 1800s, when thousands of acres of old growth forests were cut for the shipbuilding and constructions industries. The Forest Cathedral is registered as a National Natural Landmark and has been set aside for protection as a State Park Natural Area under State Parks 2000.
Pennsylvania DCNR State Parks


Cook Forest Dedication Plaques

COOK FOREST

COOK FOREST plaqueTHIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED BY THE COOK FOREST ASSOCIATION IN THE YEAR 1950 IN HONOR OF THOSE CITIZENS WHO BY LEADERSHIP, LABORS, AND GIFTS MADE POSSIBLE THE PRESERVATION OF THIS VIRGIN WHITE PINE FOREST FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF ALL THE PEOPLE.
CHIEFLY BY THE VISION AND ZEAL OF THOMAS LIGGETT THE ASSOCIATION WAS CONSTITUTED IN 1926 AND OBTAINED PRIVATE SUBSCRIPTIONS OF $200,000. THIS SUM, ADDED TO AN APPROPRIATION OF $450,000 VOTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA, MADE POSSIBLE THE DEDICATION OF THIS STATE PARK IN 1928.
FOR YEARS ANTHONY WAYNE COOK, FROM WHOM THIS TRACT WAS ACQUIRED, WITH RARE PATIENCE AND IDEALISM SAVED THESE GREAT TREES IN HOPE AND FAITH THAT THEY MIGHT BECOME A PUBLIC TRUST.

COOK FOREST ASSOCIATION

THE ORIGINAL OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS OF THE ASSOCIATION AS FORMED IN 1926 WERE:

COOK FOREST ASSOCIATION plaqueSAMUEL Y. RAMAGE
    PRESIDENT
TAYLOR ALLDERDICE
    VICE PRESIDENT
THOMAS LIGGETT
    SECRETARY
GEORGE E. BENSON
    TREASURER

H.M. BRACKENRIDGE
ARTHUR E. BRAUN
FRANK L. HARVEY
HOWARD H. McCLINTIC
JOHN M. PHILLIPS
HOMER D. WILLIAMS
-----------------

OTHER PIONEERS
M. I. McCREIGHT
THEO. L. WILSON
JOHN H. NICHOLSON


Cook Forest Photo Gallery

Longfellow Trail

Longfellow Trail

Huge hemlocks and
white pines

Huge White Pines and Hemlocks
Tree roots showing from windthrow

Windthrow

Massive Hemlocks

Massive Hemlocks
Giant Trees

A peak of sky through
the giant trees

Towering Beech

Towering Beech tree
Tree growing on a rock

Large trees growing
on top of a rock

Cathedral Area Windthrow

7:00pm August 18, 1956

"A storm of cyclonic intensity"

Cathedral Area Windthrow sign
Large trunks from windthrown trees

Large timber remains
from that windthrow

Visit Cook Forest!
Cooksburg, PA 16217

Cook Forest State Park:
814-744-8407 
website
Camping:
888-PA-PARKS

Cook Forest

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