See How Washington Forest Workers Watched For Fires 80 Years Ago
Years ago if you looked high in the sky in the Umatilla National Forest, you could see these special towers from miles away. They served an important purpose back in the day and these towers have a fascinating history.
These days we have infra-red detection devices and the deployment of airplanes and helicopters, so the once sprawling lookout towers are less utilized today but they still remain.
At the height of the '30s, there were more than 5000 lookout towers scattered throughout the country.
The Pacific Northwest was home to 800 towers with that number declining to under 200 in the '50s.
The towers were maintained by volunteers and forest workers and those that worked in the towers were called "smoke-chasers". Forestry students also would work in the towers and once the tower opened for the season, it stayed open.
The 1950s saw the decline of the lookout towers to roughly a few hundred. One tower volunteer could see roughly 20 miles from any direction of the forest. Back in the day, the towers were vital for spotting forest fires.
Today, the towers that are left serve as scenic vista points for campers and you can also rent for an overnight stay.
Though the towers aren't used today for fire detection, you can still rent them for overnight stays. I bet you can imagine what an amazing view you'll get camping in one.
The Forest Service allows the towers to be rented and you can book a reservation here for a truly unique adventure.
The towers truly stand from a bygone era and remind us all of how life once was.