Saturday, September 25, 2021

New map on Hurricane

hurricane map
Thanks to the NYS Archives, a talented climbing and photographic team in Keene, and relentless volunteers, the Hurricane Fire Tower has a new fire-sighting map table that offers hikers a special look at the tower’s role in saving the Adirondack Forest.

hurricane mapThe new map table, installed on Labor Day, combines a hand-drawn outline of surrounding peaks, which were created for virtually all the fire tower mountains back in the early 20th Century, with a modern topographic map.  Friends of Hurricane Mountain volunteers located the original sketch in the NYS Archives, and for $10, were able to purchase a high-quality reproduction.
Then the climbing/guiding/photography team of Karen and RL Stoltz took over, and created the combination image hikers will see up on the peak today.  You can clearly visualize how the observers used their maps to locate “smokes” out there in the woods, and call in fire locations to Rangers on the ground.
Bob Hunter of Lake Placid, an Adirondack Mountain Club summit steward volunteer, carried the 28-pound map table up Hurricane on Sept. 6.  And the new table was secured in place within an hour–just before a storm blew in.   With any luck, the heavy duty lexan and aluminum framing will withstand Hurricane’s stormy weather, and the loving embrace of thousands of hikers, for many years to come.
Photos courtesy of Mary Jean Bland 

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Peter Slocum lives in Keene and is a trustee of the Essex County Historical Association and a volunteer at the North Star Underground Railroad Museum in Ausable Chasm.      

8 Responses

  1. Mark Friden says:

    sn’t the term for a “map table” an “alidade”? Or, even though this is in an observer tower, was it NOT used to locate fires?

    • Peter Slocum says:

      Hello Mark. This tower was used to spot fires. Rangers strung a phone wire more than a mile up the mountain (from the East side) so observers could call with reports of smoke, beginning in the early 1900s. In fact, the phone line was up there even before the tower was built in 1919. The observers also had a sighting device on their map table (usually called an alidade), for more precision in locating the smoke.

  2. Mike Douglass says:

    Thanks Bob , L2R Superman !

  3. Don Pachner says:

    Thanks, Peter! Great work arranging all this behind the scenes and nice story!

  4. THOMAS COLE says:

    Love Hurricane and love the new map and panorama! Thank you friends of Hurricane Mountain!

  5. Jim Fox says:

    The alidade is the rotating bar with pointers that is used for sighting smoke. Line the alidade with the smoke, check the compass reading on the map table and call in the azimuth to the ranger.

  6. Mark Friden says:

    Thanks, Peter. That’s what I believed t to be. But, despite what dictionary definitions say, in all of my discussion with those who know far more about fire towers than I do, the term “map table” has never been spoken. The sighting device and map are commonly referred to, collectively, as an ‘alidade’. Perhaps each and every person I’ve come into contact with is incorrect about the term as well.

  7. R.L. Stolz says:

    Nice article. Thanks for inviting us to do the photography and design for this project. It was interesting and fun.

    I am chomping at the bitt to get up to the tower to see the completed panos and map table. My new hip is not yet ready for the climb but it will be soon. RL Stolz

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