Fire tower power | Notes from the North Woods

I saw the headline from a distance, and I rushed to grab a copy of the newspaper. The front page story featured a photograph of the old Firetower on Hurricane Mountain, which had been slated for removal along with the tower on St. Regis Mountain.

Cautiously, I read the story, “In a rare move, the state Adirondack Park Agency’s Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to classify land beneath fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane mountains as historic, which would let the structures remain and be restored.”

APA approval had been confirmed, and according to the story; both of the mountaintop towers were to remain as “Historic Resources in company with other historic sites in the park including Camp Santanoni in Newcomb, the ruins of Fort St.Fredric near Crown Point, and John Brown Farm in North Elba.”

The fire towers had previously been slated for eventual removal since Hurricane Mountain is classified as a primitive area and St. Regis Mountain is located in the St. Regis Canoe Area.

The DEC may use the towers for administrative purposes, in order to attach repeaters to the towers, to aid radio communications in remote areas.

Although I have connections with both sites, the Hurricane tower is truly a symbol of home. In Elizabethtown, the tower is omnipresent, and it remains as familiar to most folks as their own back door. I could see it while walking to school, or from the gas station where I worked, or the golf course where I played.

Over the years, I spent a lot of time on the summit of that peak in the company of family, friends and guests. As a teenager, it was always a familiar haunt, with a comfortable leanto at it’s base, and access available via two easy trails.

Both the leanto, and the old Firetower Observers Cabin have since been removed, but my memories of the place remain intact. As a teenager, I spent the summer working on a trail crew with the old Conservation Department. The job included clearing brush, moving stones, building bridges and restoring the phone line on the backside of Hurricane.

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