COOKSBURG — For many people, the winter season means staying indoors. For the Friends of Cook Forest group, it means enjoying the snow and winter wildlife.
The FOCF group is busy throughout the summer and fall seasons hosting several educational events like tree tours, trail restorations, butterfly programs and a mustard pull, to name a few.
The FOCF group is very active, always participating in park renovation and clean-up projects, such as helping to update and enhance the canoe launch or revamping the interpretive signage on the Cook Trail.
But members of the group want to highlight the colder months, too. A “Clarion River Winter Wildlife Expedition” will be held Saturday at 7:30 a.m., beginning at the Cook Forest State Park office with an interpretive driving tour. Participants will search Clear Creek State Park, the Clarion River and Cook Forest, according to the event page.
“Just because the herds have migrated away during the wintertime, doesn’t mean the wildlife is gone, too,” the FOCF page says. “As a matter of fact, winter on the Clarion (River) is one of the best times of the year to observe wildlife in the park, especially some of the oddballs that you don’t get to see in the summer: migrating birds, river otter, fisher.”
Skiing fans everywhere will have the chance to glide through the Old Growth Forest on Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. The Old Growth Forest features a large number of tall hemlock trees, as well as heavy underbrush.
“Participants will learn how to identify animal tracks in the snow as they ski within the OGF,” the Friends Facebook page says. “If snow conditions aren’t good, we’ll snowshoe or hike instead.”
Those interested in participating should bring their cross country skis and headlamps, starting at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom.
The FOCF organization has been putting a lot of effort into its outreach programs, said Chair Amanda DiBenedetto, which helped Cook Forest State Park receive the “Park of the Year” award in 2018, out of 122 state parks.
For more information, call Cook Forest State Park at 814-774-8407 or visit the FOCF Facebook page.