Cook Forest By Ben Plyler
Cook Forest State Park contains a stand of virgin white pine and hemlock, one of the last in the eastern United States.
The area that is now the park was formed about two million years ago when most of western Pennsylvania was under an ancient sea. The movement of the earth's crust raised the area by about 1,300 feet.
The first European visitor to the Cook Forest Area was Christian Frederick Post. He was sent by the Proprietary Council of Pennsylvania to persuade the Seneca Indians to join the British during the French and Indian War.
The first permanent settler was John Cook. He came with with the hope of determining the possibility of building a canal on the Clarion River. Instead Cook built a house and one of many water powered saw milles on his 765 acres at the mouth of present day Tom's Rum.
In 1910 M. I. McCreight, Theo Wison, and John Nicholson started a project to save the remaining virgin timber of Cook Forest. Along with others, they started the Cook Forest Assoc. in the 1920's. Forty natural resource groups and then Gov. Gifford Pinchot helped family endorse the group. They money the association raised aided the state in purchasing the 6,055 acres of land from the Cook Family for $649,000 in 1927.
That purchase made Cook Forest State Park, not the first state park, but the first establised to save a natural landmark in Pennsylvania.
Cook Forest State Park in located about 17 miles north of Brookville on Rte. 36.
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