--- Issued July 1, 2014

A one-day tour of a "Black Forest" as large as Cook's Forest could certainly be called -- and doubly so  -- a Cook's Tour -- and that's just what a number of young male residents of the Erie Housing Authority were treated to on June 27 during "A Day Out With the Fellows."

(Thomas Cook, of Thomas Cook & Son, an English travel agency, first used, circa 1909,  the term "Cook's Tour" to describe a brief excursion.)

Cook's Forest is an 8,500-acre state park in scenic northwestern Pennsylvania. It is situated in Farmington Township, Clarion County; Barnett Township, Forest County; and Barnett Township, Jefferson County. Once called the Black Forest, the area is famous for its stands of old growth forest. Cook Forest’s “Forest Cathedral” of towering white pines and hemlocks is a National Natural Landmark. The Clarion River connects Clear Creek State Park to Cook Forest State Park along a scenic 10-mile stretch of river which is popular for canoeing and rafting.

For the 10th straight year,  members of the Community Oriented Police and Probation Services Program (COPPS) took a number of boys to Cook Forest State Park for a day of adventure and fellowship.

This year, 20 boys made the trip for a one-day adventure.

The youths are residents of John E. Horan Garden Apartments, Erie Heights, Pineview, and Harbor Homes. They range in age from 9 to 17.

The day's activities included a hike up into the mountains, a tour of a fire tower, rock climbing, a cook out, making smores, and go-kart riding.

At the end of the day the participants were treated to a grilled lunch and dinner.