Thursday, September 14, 2023

Buck Mountain Fire Tower Ribbon Cutting

Long Lake, NY – The Town of Long Lake in collaboration with Hamilton County, NY is excited to announce the opening of the Buck Mountain Fire Tower located in Long Lake, NY. This 1.2 mile (one- way) hike with 500 feet in elevation gain is located on South Sabattis Circle Road off NYS Route 30, eight miles north of the Long Lake Town center. There will be a ribbon cutting on Friday, September 15, 2023 at 1pm at the Buck Mountain Fire Tower Trail Parking Lot located on South Sabattis Road.

The project included the building of a 1.2 mile (one-way) hiking trail. The lower section of the trail was built by Hamilton County Soil and Water with help from the Town of Long Lake and volunteers who assisted with the build of bog and span bridges. Builders from the ADK Mountain Club provided guidance and work crews to ensure the trail is properly and safely constructed meeting all environmental construction standards for long-term environmental sustainability in hiking trail construction. Over two summer seasons the
ADK Mountain Club crews constructed a series of hand-built rock steps and wooden staircases to navigate the steepest section of the trail. The trail leads to a 60 foot Aeromoter Fire Tower installed in 1933.

The Town of Long Lake, along with project partners, Hamilton County Soil and Water, the ADK Mountain Club, and landowner, Cedar Heights Timber LLC, worked together to create a sustainable hiking trail to the historic Buck Mountain Fire Tower. The panoramic 360 degree view includes views of the vast tract of the Whitney Wilderness, and Little Tupper Lake. There are views of Bog Stream, Round Pond and Cat Mountain in Long Lake, NY. Blue Mountain, the Santanoni Range, Mt. Morris and Coney Mountain can also be seen from the tower.

The final phase of the project is the rehabilitation of the 60 foot fire tower under the direction of fire tower consultant Mike Vilegi from Excelsior Fire Tower Group. The fire tower rehabilitation included installation of a new sheet metal roof, treads, galvanized steps and fencing. The Town of Long Lake used top level construction materials to ensure
the longevity of the fire tower.

The Buck Mountain Fire Tower was constructed in 1933 on the land formerly owned by Whitney Park now owned by Cedar Heights Timber, LLC. It was one of 127 statewide
stations operated between 1909 and 1990. It is a 60 foot steel Aermotor LS-40 model tower. The summit elevation is 2400 feet. Prior to the steel tower on the site it is believed
to have been a wooden fire observatory tower.

The original construction materials for the tower were hauled to the top of Buck Mountain by a dog sled team with lead dog St. Luniare led by Jack Bursey. Both Bursey and St. Luniare accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd on his historic trip to the South Pole in 1929.

This trail was made possible through the generosity of Cedar Heights Timber LLC, which granted an easement across a scenic portion of its land to this historic fire tower overlooking the William C. Whitney Wilderness.

This trail was built through collaborative community partnership between the Adirondack Mountain Club, the NYS Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association, Hamilton County
Soil and Water Department, Hamilton County Highway Department, the Hamilton County Board Supervisors, and the Town of Long Lake.

Support for the trailhead kiosk is from Generous Acts at Adirondack Foundation and from the Adirondack Community Recreation Alliance at the Northern Forest Center.

The Town of Long Lake, located in Hamilton County, is a year-round Adirondack family destination, bursting with activities and nature for all ages. The town encompasses two well-known lakes, Long Lake and Raquette Lake, and numerous trails and waterways. The Town provides community members and tourists with the quintessential Adirondack experience and is spearheading an effort to expand recreational opportunities available within the region.
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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. Peter F. Kain says:

    where can I find a map of the new 1.2 mile hike to the buck mt fire tower?

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