Evergreen Cabins and Mercantile

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Spreads

After several trips along the Clarion River, it’s clear that the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) had an easy winter. The woolly masses are evident along the river, throughout the surrounding forest, and even on the ridge along the Deer Park Trail. The infestation is also noticeable along the Redbank Trail in the Brookville area. While the signs are subtle, once you know what to look for, you can identify the grayish color of heavily infected hemlocks, even from across a river. Having witnessed the aftermath of the outbreak in the Smokies, it’s concerning to see some of the trees in Cook Forest starting to exhibit similar symptoms.

Current Efforts and Treatments in Cook Forest

In Cook Forest, HWA-eating beetles (Laricobius) have been released as a potential long-term solution. However, the immediate and most effective treatment remains the use of imidacloprid. This year, the park will treat one of the largest numbers of trees since the outbreak began, totaling over 140,000 diameter inches. These treatments will focus on the highest-value stands, meaning some areas, such as the trees along the Clarion River, might not be included. Given that hemlocks are a keystone species, providing essential shade and cooling to small streams, their loss could significantly impact the ecosystem.

Support from the Friends of Cook Forest

The Friends of Cook Forest are actively raising funds to combat HWA and support other park projects, including the replacement of the Ridge Camp Playground. We have several fundraisers planned for later this year, including a comedy show and a bluegrass concert at the Sawmill Theater in August. In September, we will collaborate with the Clarion Conservation District and Pale Whale Canoe Livery for a river clean-up float and host a Qi Gong introductory event.

How You Can Help

We encourage everyone to come out, enjoy the park, and support our efforts to preserve this natural treasure. If you are a current member of the Friends of Cook Forest, please consider renewing your membership. New members can join through our website at friendsofcookforest.org, pick up a flyer at the park office, or attend one of our events. We also need volunteer help on June 1st and 2nd at the Herb & Fiber Festival. If you’re interested in volunteering, please email us at .

By incorporating these efforts, we aim to protect the beauty and ecological health of Cook Forest for future generations. Your support and involvement are crucial in making a difference.

Spread the word!