Cook Forest State Park, a favorite summer getaway for folks from the Erie region, has a number of events on its August calendar that are worth looking into, whether as part of a day trip or a week of end-of-summer camping. Call (814) 744-8407 for information about any event, or to reserve a spot.
Fire Tower historical tour: Take in the view from the top of Fire Tower No. 9 and learn about its history during a free tour with park volunteers Kelley and Al Bilotto Aug. 4 or Aug. 18 from 1-3 p.m.
Hellbender hunt: Join park staff Aug. 10 at 11:30 a.m. for a free 3-hour search of the Clarion River for mudpuppies and seldom-seen hellbenders. You will get soaked, so wear appropriate clothing and shoes suitable for wading the river, and pack along a sturdy wading staff. Participants will carpool to search sites from the park office.
Canoe the Allegheny River, from Buckaloons to Thompson Island: Meet at the park office before 8:30 a.m. Aug. 23 to carpool to the put-in for the daylong, 4-mile interpretive paddle put on by the park and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry. Learn about the bottomland and forests of the area and stop at Crulls Island and Anders Run Natural Area. Pack your fishing gear, along with drinking water, rain gear, protective footwear and a change of clothing . Cost is $50 per boat, payable at the starting point (exact amount only; no credit cards). Lunch will be provided for those who register by Aug. 20. Space is limited; reserve early. If the river is too high, participants will instead carpool to Anders Run Natural Area and Hearts Content Natural Area instead.
Canoe the Clarion River, from Troutman Run to Gravel Lick: Meet at the park office before 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29 to carpool to the put-in for the 6-mile interpretive paddle put on by the park. Basic canoe safety and handling will be handled, along with wildlife on the Clarion River. Take sturdy river sneakers, a change of clothing and drinking water, as well as fishing gear. Lunch will be provided for those who register by Aug. 27. Cost is $30 per boat, payable at the starting point in the exact amount by cash, check or money order (no credit cards). Only eight canoes are available; reserve early.
Visit the Cook Forest State Park website and click on events in the navigational menu to find other activities.