8th Annual Statewide Lighting of the NYS Fire Towers
Volunteers, carrying various lights to the mountain summit, will light the tower from 9:00 PM to 9:30 PM. (Rain date, hopefully unnecessary, Sept 5th.) The purpose is to draw attention to the historic role fire towers played in the protection of the community and the surrounding forest. For the 4th year, I’m one of those volunteers.
The 35’ tall Aeromotor galvanized steel St Regis tower was erected in 1918 and manned until 1990. It was one of the last manned towers in the state. In the 1990s, the tower was slated to be removed as it was a “non-conforming structure” forbidden in the wilderness St Regis Canoe area. After years of effort by the Friends group, the Adirondack Park Agency approved a designated “historic site” area around the tower, thus eliminating the non-conforming structure status. The tower however deteriorated after its manned use ended and it was declared unsafe. The lower stairs were removed so no one could climb to the cab at the top. Restoration of the tower began in 2015.
With help from volunteers, paid workers, airlifts of material by the NYS Police helicopter and, of course, monetary contributions much work was accomplished. A new roof was fabricated and installed, the missing lower stairs replaced, the lumber for the stair treads, cabin floor, and landings were replaced, and, more recently, all the cross braces were replaced. Ongoing projects include painting the whole tower, installation of panels in the cab identifying lakes and mountains, and eventually replacing the wire fencing.
Climbing St Regis Mountain has always been a great hike with a rewarding view from the summit of the numerous surrounding ponds and lakes with the mountains of the high peaks off in the distance. The tower makes it even better. Just as important, the tower restoration preserves the story of its historic role in a tangible way. It’s also fun to climb to the cab, enjoy the view, and think about the fire observers of years past looking out for tell-tale signs of fire.
But you can also connect with your inner St Regis Mt fire tower (or simply enjoy the lighting) by heading to the Lake Clear Lodge, enjoying a delicious dinner and dessert, and view the light tower across the water of Lake Clear from their beach. I’ll be on the summit looking down at you.
Book your spot for the Lake Clear Lodge's Special Event Here: https://www.lakeclearlodge.com/events/st-regis-fire-tower-lighting-celebration-dinner