DEC calls for removal of

"We've only found three sites, all in Essex County, to save as something of historic importance," Monroe said. "Residents like these things. There's ways to maintain them that won't cost the state any money and I think we should consider that."

Using private money, local citizen action groups have restored several of the remaining towers, including both the St. Regis and Hurricane Mountain towers.

"On the flip side, it's not going to be inexpensive to take down the tower," said David Petrelli, who heads up the Friends of St. Regis Mt. Fire Tower. The organization has collected more than 3,000 signatures on its petition to retain the tower.

Petrelli said he is dissapointed with the recent DEC proposal and frustrated that the current DEC administration is not being sensitive to the value of fire towers.

"We really do not feel we're being heard," Petrelli said. "That was not the case with other DEC administrations."

Elizabethtown resident Gretna Longware, who acts as secretary for the Friends of Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower, expressed similar feelings. She said her group had submitted more than 6,600 signatures to the APA and DEC.

"We were told... that if it had federal and state [historic] preservation that they couldn't take it down, and now they're going to take it down," Longware said.

Guglielmi said that although the two towers slated for demolition are considered historic, they can still be removed as long as the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is consulted first.

Both tower preservation groups have gained the support of their respective counties and townships through resolutions, and local representatives at the state level, including State Sen. Elizabeth Little, have also voiced their desire to keep both the St. Regis and Hurricane towers in place.

"They were very supportive before, and we'll have to go back to them now," said Petrelli.

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