Friday, November 7, 2014

Hurricane, Saint Regis Fire Towers To Be Restored, Reopened

Hurricane-mtn-Fire-Tower-Phil-Brown-PhotoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the final unit management plans (UMPs) for the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area.

DEC will allow volunteer organizations to restore the two fire towers and reopen them to the public.

“The completion of the management plans allows us to move forward with restoring these historically significant resources and opening the fire towers to the public,” DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said in a statement sent to the press. “Throughout the 20th century, fire towers played a critical role in the protection of New York State’s natural resources. Now they attract many people who want to learn about the role of fire towers, the people that worked in them and the natural resources they protected.”

The 35-foot Hurricane Mountain fire tower was discontinued for use as a fire observation station in 1979, and the 35-foot Saint Regis Mountain fire tower was shut down in 1990. Both structures have been closed to the public ever since.

The completion of the UMPs allows DEC to begin working with two volunteer groups to restore the two fire towers to a condition that will accommodate public access to the structures and include interpretive materials related to the towers’ history.

DEC anticipates beginning restoration work on both fire towers next summer with assistance from the Friends of St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower and the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Friend’s Group, respectively.

The Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area UMP may be viewed and downloaded online here; and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area UMP may be viewed and downloaded online here.

More information on these and other fire towers may be found in the DEC’s Fire Tower Study for the Adirondack Park.

Photo of Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower by Phil Brown.

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4 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    This is so contrary to what the NYS APA & DEC normally do it’s hard to believe it will happen.

  2. Hawthorn says:

    I understand the nostalgic and historic appeal of firetowers, but I have changed my mind over the years and think they should be removed as not necessary artifacts of a bygone era like phone booths and stage coaches. They belong in museums, if anywhere, and not in wilderness. Creating microslices within wilderness areas in order to make them legal indicates to me they don’t belong there.

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