Clarion County, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, was formed on March 11, 1839, from parts of Venango and Armstrong counties. As of 2009, the estimated population of Clarion County was 39,479. Its county seat is located in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Throughout Clarion County, the small town atmosphere provides its residents and tourists a heartening feeling of serenity. The Clarion River (which runs through Cook Forest State Park) and Allegheny River provide many scenic areas and recreational activities such as boating, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming. Clarion borders on the Piney Dam Reservoir which is suitable for everything from fishing to water skiing.
Cook Forest State Park
Cook Forest State Park lies on 7,182 acres in northwestern Pennsylvania. This area was once called “The Black Forest” and is famous for its stands of old growth forest. Bordering the Clarion River, Cook Forest State Park is known for virgin white pines and hemlock timbers known as the “Forest Cathedral.” People from all over the world travel to Cook Forest to experience this Natural National Landmark, catch glimpses of wildlife, hike, hunt, fish, float down the river on canoes, and cross-country ski. Cook Forest is noted for its excellent fishing streams and ponds and hundreds of miles of hiking trails through the forest, including the Baker trail, which runs from Pittsburgh to the Allegheny National Forest. While visiting this State Park, there are many activities in the surrounding area such as visiting local merchants and shops, golf, mini golf, horseback riding, go-kart racing, waterslides, petting zoos, arcades, theater productions, concerts, flea markets, and many fine restaurants.
Autumn Leaf Festival
Clarion is well known for its Autumn Leaf Festival held annually in October. This celebration draws approximately 500,000 people to the community. Established in 1953, the Autumn Leaf Festival is one of the state’s most recognized fairs providing its patrons with a fantastic parade, talent show, carnival rides, antique auto show, live entertainment, games, concessions, food, crafts, and much more. Many people have been collecting the notable Autumn Leaf glasses for years.
Founded in 1867, Clarion University of Pennsylvania is one of fourteen universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Located on a 100 acre campus in Clarion, Clarion University offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and post master’s certificates. The current enrollment is 6500 students.
- Kurt Angle – Wrestler
- John Calipari – NBA and college basketball coach
- Evan John Jones – former US congressman
- Pete Vukovich – former professional pitcher and Cy Young award winner
- Reggie Wells – NFL player
- Larry Richert – Pittsburgh News anchor