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Cook Forest Canoe Rentals: Over 40 Years of Family Fun
According to owner Brent Lipford (pictured above), his father, the late Karl Lipford, started the business in the early 1970s.
“He was an engineer at Goodyear Aerospace, and he said he just got tired of going to work like that every day,” Lipford told exploreClarion.com.
“He was an outdoorsman. We did canoeing and kayaking and camping all the time. Then, he started one business in Ohio, and after that one got going in 1970, he came up here and started this one in the early 70’s, too.”
Lipford noted that he practically grew up in the business, as he was around the age of nine when his father started it.
“I feel like I was born in a canoe,” Lipford said. “I really did grow up doing it, and I learned from my own mistakes. It really is a great business.
“It’s only six months of the year, but we get to meet so many great people.”
Lipford eventually bought the business from his father later in the 1980’s. He and his wife, Sherry, currently own and operate the business along with a small crew of about a dozen employees.
“We have a great bunch of guys working here,” Lipford said. “They’re great employees and a lot of fun to work with.”
Cook Forest Canoe Rentals has two bases – one in the heart of Cook Forest State Park where the bridge crosses the Clarion River and a second in Clarington where another bridge crosses the river.
“It’s a beautiful river,” Lipford said. “It’s classed as a beginner’s river, and under normal conditions, it only runs moderately fast and has a few little ripples and quiet pools, and the average depth is just one to three feet.”
Lipford also said the river has gained notoriety being listed as a National Wild and Scenic Rivers and being voted the 2019 River of the Year in Pennsylvania.
Currently, Cook Forest Canoe Rentals offer a choice of innertubes, kayaks, or canoes.
“Innertubes are really popular,” Lipford added.
They also offer a wide range of trips from short 2.5-mile floats clear up through 15-mile canoe trips and even two-day trips with a primitive campsite.
“It’s great family fun,” Lipford said. “It’s cheap, and it’s a good way to spend the day outside. Everyone enjoys it, and Cook Forest is beautiful.
“Any time you can spend in Cook Forest, just do it. You can’t find a nicer spot.”
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