Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fire Tower Fever: Adirondack Experience Event Saturday

Stillwater Mt. tower restoration ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) and Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX), have announced a celebration of fire towers and the people who restore and maintain them.

Fire Tower Fever, a family-friendly event set for July 14, 2018, at Adirondack Experience, starts at 10 am and ends at 3 pm. In between, the day offers presentations, anecdotes from volunteers involved in tower restorations, book signings, guided hikes, an introduction to the ADK Fire Tower Challenge, and Smokey Bear-themed scavenger hunts.

Views From On High: Fire Tower Trails in the Adirondack and Catskills, now in its second edition, is the focus of the book signing. Co-editors John P. (Jack) Freeman and Jim Schneider will be present, as will Jacob C. (Jake) Wilde. Hiker and tower enthusiast Wilde contributed a chapter titled Beyond the Blue Line that describes thirteen additional fire towers, three of them demonstration towers. One demonstration tower, formerly located atop Whiteface Mt., now stands at Adirondack Experience and is open to the public.

Guided hikes will include strolls to Adirondack Experience’s on-site display tower, which can be ascended (11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m), and two morning hikes up Blue Mountain. To register for the event, including the Blue Mt. hikes, call 518-668-4447, Mon.–Sat., 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Registration has been extended to Wednesday, July 11.

Views From On High enables hikers, history buffs, and other fond of Adirondack and Catskill trails to visit and learn about 30 historic fire towers. Detailed trail descriptions are accompanied by color photos and maps as well as an essay about Adirondack and Catskill fire towers written by historic preservationist Wesley H. Haynes. In the latter, Haynes notes, “Fire towers enabled our forebears to literally see the forest through the trees, moving them to comprehend its vast scale, understand its importance, and dedicate them to its preservation.”

The ADK Fire Tower Challenge, requires hikers to ascend and document at least 23 of 30 fire tower summits found in the Adirondacks and Catskills. Sponsored by the Glens Falls–Saratoga Chapter, the Challenge was met with such enthusiasm that the chapter introduced a winter challenge. Completers receive a patch from the chapter.

The Challenge and the book itself help introduce hikers to little known parts of both parks and has aided in awareness of efforts to restore fire towers.

Stillwater Mt. tower, newest to the roster of the 30 fire towers in the Challange, was reopened to the public in 2016 after extensive restoration.

Azure Mt. fire tower, fully restored, is the focus of a big celebration as it turns 100 on July 29 of this year.

Friends of Mount Arab are set to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Mount Arab fire tower on August 11th.

Read all about Adirondack Fire Towers in the Adirondack Almanack Archives.

Photo of Stillwater Mt. tower restoration by Jim Fox.

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