The Transylvania Times -

By Marcy Thompson
Picturing The Past 

Lookout Towers Played Role In Preserving Forests


Last updated 10/24/2016 at 5:52pm

Rich Mountain lookout tower and watchman's cabin, 1963.

Lookout towers played a vital role in forest history for over a half-century. In 1910 the U.S. Forest Service was devastated by the loss of 85 firefighters, 8 billion board feet of timber, and 5 million acres of forest from fires in Montana and Idaho. Fire prevention and control would become an essential piece of forest management.

Lookout towers in western North Carolina are normally located on the top of high mountain peaks or balds. The first steel fire towers in the state were built in 1928. During the 1930s the CCC constructed numerous towers in the mountains. Some of the towers...

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