Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
NW_history_buff

National Historic Lookout Register

Recommended Posts

Greetings, Waymarkers,

 

In logging a visit to a fire lookout tower in the Lookout Towers Category recently, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is a national register (database) for fire lookouts categorized in the National Historic Lookout Register official website (www.nhlr.org). This website ALSO includes fire lookouts from other countries, so this database is not restricted to only US fire lookouts.

 

I would like to take the necessary steps to create a new category for these fire lookouts since many of them have been abandoned, destroyed and in need of rehabilitation and a category for them would be a wonderful step in the right direction towards highlighting as many of them as possible for other waymarkers to visit, take pictures and share some history about them before some of them are lost forever.

 

PLEASE take a moment and visit the official website which includes an awesome map of the USA to pinpoint specific fire lookouts registered in your state of interest. I believe there are over 1000 fire lookouts in the national database so far and growing!

 

http://www.nhlr.org/Lookouts/lookoutlinks.aspx and the Forest Fire Lookout Association website which includes a neat stat sheet of lookouts in every state and ALSO other countries! http://www.ffla.org/

 

 

There is also an OFFICIAL placard that is placed at each fire lookout site that states the following:

 

This Site Listed on the

NATIONAL HISTORIC

LOOKOUT REGISTER

A national register recognizing

fire lookout sites, structures

and towers with historic and

cultural significance to forest

fire detection in order to

promote their protection.

 

Maintained in cooperation with

federal, state, and private

forestry agencies and

landowners throughout the

United States.

 

www.firelookout.net

The following text comes directly from the nhlr.org website and describes their mission:

 

The National Historic Lookout Register (NHLR) is maintained by the American Resources Group® in Washington, D.C. This is the U.S. equivalent of the World Lookout Register. The registers are a cooperative effort of the Forest Fire Lookout Association, the National Forestry Association, the National Woodland Owners Association, the U.S. Forest Service, state foresters and Interior agencies.

 

Listing in the National Historic Lookout Register is often a first step toward eventual nomination to the National Register of Historic Sites maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Sometimes necessary structural modifications preclude listing in the latter register, and the only appropriate recognition given to these historic lookout sites is that afforded by the NHLR.

 

When a structure is less than 50 years old, but has sufficient historical significance to be registered, the lookout is listed in the National Lookout Register with an NHLR number, and is automatically transferred to the NHLR upon the 50th anniversary of its construction.

 

Fire lookouts are a proud symbol of forest conservation in America and are well recognized by the general public. They also often continue to perform an invaluable role in early detection, so important in keeping wildfires manageable and within budget.

 

I did some more research and discovered the following verbiage off a related website to the National Historic Lookout Register website (www.fflos.com) that says:

 

At one time there were 8,000+ fire lookouts in 49 states according to the national inventory completed by FFLA and partners in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. State listings are posted on the "Towers Page" at.ffla.org. The only state without a fire lookout is Kansas, and that will soon change with the future construction of a fire tower on the Cimmaron National Grassland. Today fewer than 2,000 lookouts remain and FFLA's goal is to recognize, help maintain and restore as many as possible. Currently there are nearly 1000 lookouts registered on the National Historic Lookout Register, and most are received some kind of maintenance and about 500 are staffed by paid observers or volunteers.

 

We are in a race with time, as abandoned fire towers are sold for scrap to make way to new electronic facilities, including cell phone towers, on high points throughout America. Members of FFLA continue to do all they can to prevent that, and are becoming more successful every year. Some lookouts get moved to parks, fairgrounds and museums where people can visit and learn of the proud history of these recognized symbols of forest conservation. Others are sold to private parties who move them to their own woodlands and farms to enjoy and preserve them. A few, especially in the south, revert to the landowner when the forestry agency no longer can staff them and face an uncertain future until one of us comes forward with an offer to help.

 

I would honestly say that the great majority of Fire Lookouts are publicly accessible via a forest service access road. If by chance the road is gated to prevent public autos from passing through, then it SHOULD be accessible via hiking to it.

 

ANOTHER THING TO THINK ABOUT... This potential new category could ALSO list those fire lookouts that have been destroyed or abandoned and ALSO registered in the Former Fire Lookout Sites Register website! That increases the potential waymark listing exponentially! Click on the Former Fire Lookout website to read more about their mission: http://www.fflos.com

 

All waymarkers to any fire lookout should think of this category in much the same way as the US National Register of Historic Places Category and the long description that I would create would be in much the same manner. I am also looking for any interested folks to join the group I'm establishing for this potential category so if anyone is interested please message me or reply here on this topic.

 

I look forward to any feedback and am excited to be able to create a new category for these historic lookouts!

 

Doug aka thebeav69

Edited by thebeav69

Share this post


Link to post

Out of curiosity, how many of these do you guess are accessible to the public, as opposed to authorized personnel only?

I realize that the ones on the database have a plaque, but that doesn't mean the public can go see it.

 

Very interesting database you've stumbled upon.

Share this post


Link to post

Out of curiosity, how many of these do you guess are accessible to the public, as opposed to authorized personnel only?

I realize that the ones on the database have a plaque, but that doesn't mean the public can go see it.

 

Very interesting database you've stumbled upon.

 

Max and 99:

Thanks for your reply, I did some more research and discovered the following verbiage off a related website to the National Historic Lookout Register website (www.fflos.com) that says:

 

At one time there were 8,000+ fire lookouts in 49 states according to the national inventory completed by FFLA and partners in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. State listings are posted on the "Towers Page" at.ffla.org. The only state without a fire lookout is Kansas, and that will soon change with the future construction of a fire tower on the Cimmaron National Grassland. Today fewer than 2,000 lookouts remain and FFLA's goal is to recognize, help maintain and restore as many as possible. Currently there are nearly 1000 lookouts registered on the National Historic Lookout Register, and most are received some kind of maintenance and about 500 are staffed by paid observers or volunteers.

 

We are in a race with time, as abandoned fire towers are sold for scrap to make way to new electronic facilities, including cell phone towers, on high points throughout America. Members of FFLA continue to do all they can to prevent that, and are becoming more successful every year. Some lookouts get moved to parks, fairgrounds and museums where people can visit and learn of the proud history of these recognized symbols of forest conservation. Others are sold to private parties who move them to their own woodlands and farms to enjoy and preserve them. A few, especially in the south, revert to the landowner when the forestry agency no longer can staff them and face an uncertain future until one of us comes forward with an offer to help.

 

I would honestly say that the great majority of Fire Lookouts are publicly accessible via a forest service access road. If by chance the road is gated to prevent public autos from passing through, then it SHOULD be accessible via hiking to it.

 

ANOTHER THING TO THINK ABOUT... This potential new category could ALSO list those fire lookouts that have been destroyed or abandoned and ALSO registered in the Former Fire Lookout Sites Register website! That increases the potential waymark listing exponentially! Click on the Former Fire Lookout website to read more about their mission: http://www.fflos.com

Edited by thebeav69

Share this post


Link to post

I think they are interesting and a viable category. It's not redundant with lookout towers, because they have to be open for the public and fire lookouts are usually not.

 

Many of them are in remote places, some in the middle of nowhere, don't expect this category to become crowded ever! Under these circumstances it would be wise to make it as easy as possible to add new entries. I would not refer to this database as a requirement. Search for former and current fire lookouts, not for lookouts in the database! While the US seems to have a fairly good coverage with almost half of the estimated total, this would still mean to cut off about one thousand potential locations. The international section of this database is so extremely poor, it is not even worth mentioning. There must be thousands of them and they list 20.

Share this post


Link to post

This topic is interesting for me, as I thought some times about proposing a fire lookouts category. So that's where these spots has been going.

 

P.S. - No need to mention, a fire lookout category should be open to fire lookouts no matter they are located in US or not. The time of Category A: US National Parks; Category B: National Parks of the World is gone, I hope. Furthermore, obviously I am volunteering as an officer for this category, which is not surprising, considering I ve been thinking about creating it anyway.

Edited by Torgut

Share this post


Link to post

By the way, in Portugal (I dare to note that Portugal is the 6th country with more Waymarks) these Lookouts are very common and accessible. We do have a problem with wildfires and a fine structure to oppose them, including an impressive network of fire lookouts, usually manned by retired men during the Summer.

Share this post


Link to post

I would rather see a more open fire tower/fire lookout category with variables for whether it is listed on the register and whether it is open to public access than one restricted to towers listed on a particular mostly US centric register.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. From reading responses, it looks like the general consensus is to create a Fire Lookouts category that invites submissions worldwide and would include 'officially registered' and unregistered fire lookouts in addition to those that have been destroyed but yet still accessible for historic purposes.

 

I will get started on creating a category with some variables such as whether they are publicly accessible or not, the types of materials utilized in the fire lookout, whether it's an 'officially registered' lookout, etc.

 

A category such as this will encourage waymarkers who have already submitted a fire lookout in the Lookout Towers category to include them here as well, BUT... should the category description encourage waymarkers to archive existing fire lookouts in the Lookout Towers category? Communication to the officers of the Lookout Towers category letting them know of this new category is imperative so they can include some verbiage in their long description instructing potential waymarkers NOT to waymark Fire Lookouts in their category but in this new one.

Edited by thebeav69

Share this post


Link to post

This really looks like going the right way. These lookout are very interesting.

 

I would not care about cross-postings with the Lookout Towers category. There are always overlaps between categories. Cross-posting, i.e. posting the same location to different categories, is normal in Waymarking. I guess the current record of different categories for the same location is at about 70. Some of the fire lookouts also qualifiy for lookout towers, so what? As long as there is not a general redundancy I don't see a problem.

Edited by fi67

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

×
×
  • Create New...