Written by Danielle Taylor | Header photo by Penn’s Woods Photography

Autumn is a beautiful time to enjoy the trails of Cook Forest and the rest of the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region.

Next Tuesday marks a significant anniversary for America’s public lands and waterways, and it serves as an excellent reminder to get out and enjoy our collective backyard. 50 years ago, on October 2, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and National Trails System Act into law. In the half-century since, thousands of miles of rivers have been protected and thousands more miles of trails have been created for our use and enjoyment, now and for generations to come.

The feature article “Endless Miles of Adventure” in our 2018 Welcome Guide explored the history of these pivotal conservation acts as well as two rivers and three trails in our region protected by them: the Allegheny River, Clarion River, North Country National Scenic Trail, Mahoning Shadow Trail, and Black Cherry Trail. However, the 50th anniversaries of these acts celebrate all of the magnificent rivers and trails that crisscross our nation, including those found in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors.

The Allegheny National Forest will honor this golden anniversary next Tuesday at 1 p.m. with a public reveal ceremony for a scale-model timber raft display at the Marienville Ranger District office. The raft is a replica of those used during the 19th century to float timber down the Allegheny and Clarion Rivers, both now part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

You can also participate in these intriguing trail events over the next few weeks:

Winding trails await you throughout the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region. Photo by Mountain Man Photography.

– Hands-On Guided Trail Hike at Woodring Farm, Benezette, September 28, 29, 30, October 5, 6, 7
– First Annual Cook Forest Trail Party, Cooksburg, September 29
– Fire Tower Historical Tour, Cooksburg, September 29
– Scripture Rocks Guided Tour, Brookville, September 30
– Elk Walk and Talk, Benezette, September 30
– October Fall Foliage Horse Ride, Cook Forest, October 1-6
– Tour de Brookville Fall Bicycle Classic, Brookville, October 6
– Tour de Forest Fall ATV Trail Ride, Marienville, October 6 and 7
– Towns & Trails Regional Coalition Meeting, Brookville, October 18
– Woodsy Owl Workday at Cook Forest State Park, Cooksburg, October 20
– Sinnemahone Ultra Marathon Trail Run, Emporium, October 20

Alternately, you can always launch a canoe, kayak, or tube on one of the region’s waterways or simply take the time to fish, and the trails here are always open for you to spend a day in nature. Check out our Outdoor Adventures page for more than 150 local destinations for outdoor exploration.

Learn more and find other interesting places to visit in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region by going to or calling (814) 849-5197.

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