JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– The Department of Conservation and Natural Resource held a dedication at Cook Forest State Park on Wednesday for a new park office and visitor’s center.
The 4,000 square foot building center will include office space for 12 employees, a 700-square foot classroom and meeting space and also and public restrooms that are available at all hours throughout the year. Currently the exhibit space in the office is in its design phase, but plans to be ready in the near future.
“I am pleased to be here today celebrating this new building and the opportunities it will provide visitors at one of our special parks,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We are happy to have this new home for our staff to continue doing great work at that park. We look forward to seeing the impact of the enhanced visitor experience this new building will provide through improved amenities and educational opportunities.”
The park is set to receive $2 million in funding for roadway work and for Cook Forest and Clear Creek state parks along with an additional and $140,000 in bridges to support trails. The old office that was damaged very bad from a 2014 flood will cost about $800,000 to tear down and a guest comfort station will be built.
Cook Forest State Park is known for its Forest Cathedral of towering white pines and hemlocks is a National Natural Landmark. The 3,136-acre Clarion River Lands are also a well known spot for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing.
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“This park is a special place and having this new park office and visitor center will provide new opportunities to educate and improve the visitor experience,” Cook Forest Park Manager Ryan Borcz said. “My staff and I look forward to serving the public better with our new office, as well as through planned improvements on the horizon.”
The DCNR manages 121 state parks, 2.2 million acres of state forest lands, and is tasked with conserving and sustaining Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations’ use and enjoyment. They have