Cook Forest State Park in Clarion County has acres of old growth forest areas with trees that are several hundred years old. The one in our header photo is over 125 feet tall and 250 years old. However, having escaped the mass lumbering that occurred across most of the country in the 19th century, the Eastern hemlocks that are among the largest remaining on the East Coast are threatened by a nasty bug called the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA).
A non-native, invasive insect that attacks and kills Eastern hemlock trees has advanced westward across Pennsylvania to Cook Forest State Park. Home to the most significant Eastern hemlock stand north of the Smoky Mountains, Cook Forest State Park is famous for its old-growth trees. Its “Forest Cathedral” of towering hemlock and white pine is a National Natural Landmark.
DCNR has been engaged in a two-pronged treatment effort that relies on selective application of insecticides and the release of predatory beetles, partnering with the USDA Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy and other interested organizations to develop an Eastern hemlock management plan for northwestern Pennsylvania.
Among the more beautiful tools at our disposal for raising funds to purchase supplies is Wild Excellence Films‘ Cathedral: The Fight to Save the Ancient Hemlocks of Cook Forest. We are delighted to be able to include the film here on our website.
You can support the effort to eradicate the HWA with your online contribution to the fund that helps to purchase the supplies needed in the fight. Donation checks, payable to Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF), can also be sent to Cook Forest State Park, ATTN: HWA Fund, PO Box 120, Cooksburg, PA 16217.
Efforts to eradicate this pest (and fund other improvements in the park) are supported by the sales of New Trail Brewing Company’s limited edition Hazy Double PA. The 4th in a series of brews featuring Pennsylvania’s state parks, proceeds from the sale of the beer will go directly to the park’s account.
What is so special about Cook Forest? Find out from guest blogger Christian Alexandersen who says “If you only run or hike one PA state park, choose this one.” Check it out on our News page.