Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower has recruited volunteer Summit Stewards for summer weekends. They’ll be up at the tower from 10 am to 2 pm starting Saturday July 1 through Tuesday July 4th. Summit Stewards will point out Whiteface Mountain and the Adirondack High Peaks to the northeast, the 195 wind turbines overlooking the Black River Valley to the southwest, and the expanse of the Stillwater Reservoir below.
The tower’s authentic 1919 sliding-top map table can be seen, with it’s alidade and vintage Panoramic Map for Stillwater Mountain for locating forest fires. Summit Stewards help tell the story of the 1882 copper survey marker that was stolen over a century ago, found with a metal detector hundreds of miles away in 2013, and was returned to the DEC.
Only later it was discovered that the Station No. 77 marker had come from Stillwater Mountain. It’s empty hole can be seen in the bedrock under the tower, and a brass replacement marker that was reset last September. The recreated stencil of the tower’s shipping information from Chicago can be seen on one of the steel supports.
Photographs of earlier towers, panoramas with labeled mountain peaks, and nineteenth century documents and maps will be available for inspection.
Summit Stewards will have information about what visitors can do after visiting the tower, what Stillwater and Beaver River establishments and services are available, public facilities at the NYS DEC boat launch, and camping, hiking, and fishing at Stillwater Reservoir.
Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower headed by Jim Fox and Harry Peck, and a volunteer group of over a hundred, partnered with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, restored the tower over ten work days, and opened to the public a year ago. In the four months it was open in 2016, (closed during hunting season), 4,135 visitors logged a hike a mile to the tower. Last October, the NYS DEC installed a solar powered emergency radio repeater on the tower.
Summit Stewards will be at the tower every weekend this summer from 10 am to 2 pm through Labor Day, and during Columbus Day weekend. They will come from the Albany, Utica, Syracuse, North Country, and Adirondacks.
Safety fencing and railings make the tower kid-friendly. Stillwater Fire Tower stickers are made available to hikers, and kids receive “I Climbed Stillwater Fire Tower” cards signed by the Summit Steward just as Fire Observers did fifty years ago.
Stillwater Fire Tower is located on the Big Moose Rd from Lowville, Number Four and the Stillwater Rd, turn right on Big Moose Rd. Trailhead 2 miles. From Rte 28 in Eagle Bay and the Big Moose Rd, 6 miles from the Big Moose RR Station.
For more information about the Stillwater Fire Tower, visit their website or email [email protected]
Photo: Stillwater Fire Tower, courtesy Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower.