View Full Version : Lets Save This Tower Too!

01-13-2004, 06:36 PM
the wakely firetower is also on the list
read - http://www.adirondackexplorer.com/awakelytower.htm

i think it is horrible that there is another firetower that the ADK & DEC want to rip down - it's nice to see hurricane mountain and it's firetower, it's nice to see adams with it's firetower, now i just read that wakeley is on the list too! we have all these towers with all those great views and the armchair outdoorsmen just want to waste them.... i have climbed them all and find although adams has a great view of the high peaks there is still civilization that can be seen from it in the form of the mines (as can also be seen from some of the high peaks) but wakely is in such a nice spot that you don't see any civilization at all - it is more of a wilderness experience than the high peaks (most of which you see the stupid lake placid ski jump from) what is really wilderness? the high peaks? who are you kidding, rip down john's brook lodge, and the rangers headquarters and helicopter pad if we need more wilderness, they take up a hell of a lot more room than the four legs of all the firetowers added together!

01-13-2004, 11:30 PM
Originally posted by ken
i think it is horrible that there is another firetower that the ADK & DEC want to rip down . . .
As a point of fact, according to the article, the Adirondack Mountain Club -- ADK -- evidently wants to save, rather than tear down the Wakely Mountain firetower.

For myself, I think firetowers have value both as historical artifacts and as recreational sites, and warrant preserving to the extent that can be accomplished.


01-14-2004, 12:34 AM
I find in some cases, the firetowers can actually save on summit vegetation. Sometimes when summits are a little flatter and the trees and shrubs grow higher, people will trample down the vegetation to get a better view. They won't feel so inclined to do that if they can just climb up a firetower and catch an even greater view.

One of my favorite little hikes is Overlook Mt. just outside of Woodstock, NY. For years, they had a firetower that was shut down. People climbed up the rusty thing anyway which I thought was a little dangerous. They restored the firetower in the last few years and I enjoy the hike even more because of it.

Besides, if you've ever been in the woods when there's a forest fire, it's amazing to watch one mountain burn down when you're standing on a nearby mountain. I know they have helicopters and everything now and it may seem antiquated to some, but if there's already a firetower there, it can still serve a very practical and worthwhile purpose - and that is to get another solid view of the wilderness during a crisis like a forest fire. I wouldn't tear down JBL though. I like that little stop in the woods before a big hike.:)

01-14-2004, 06:14 AM
Grumpy makes a good point. When ADK has been the leading proponent of saving the Wakely tower, how does Ken state
that ADK wants to "rip it down"? Did you read the article Ken?

01-14-2004, 07:22 AM
More specifically:
The efforts for fire tower restoration were initiated by ADK's Neil Woodworth in 1993 when in January of that year he invited several interested parties to a meeting in the Town Hall of Indian Lake to initiate a project to save and restore the fire tower on Blue Mountain. After that was successful, programs were launched with ADK and members support for preservation of fire towers on Hadley, Poke o moonshine, Arab, Azure, and all five remaining fire towers in the Catskills. These efforts were successful. The Adirondac magazine for September 2001 called for additional efforts to save Pillsbury, Wakely, and Bald Mountain towers. ADK also promoted firetowers through publication of Jack Freeman's fire tower guide.
Specifically on Wakely, both the Conservation committee of ADK and the Board of Directors passed a resolution endorsing preservation of this Tower. At Unit Management Plan hearings, ADK members and staff appeared and advocated preservation of this tower. This was also the subject of a discussion in Adirondac magazine to promote support throughout ADK.

This long history of being in the forefront of this effort makes Ken's comment particularly galling.

01-14-2004, 10:55 AM
ok - so wakely is one that the ADK is ok with? what about hurricane, adams, st. regis, lyons, is the ADK ok with those too?
not accordig to the following article about adams firetower: http://www.adirondackexplorer.com/amountadams.htm

>>ADK attorney Neil Woodworth said of the parcel the state will buy. “I really don’t think we should give this land less protection than it deserves just to save the fire tower.”<<

who is it that wants them ripped down? just the DEC? i don't think the state would spend money if someone wasn't pushing them to do it, how about the APA are they the ones that want them down? i notice that in jack freeman's book wakely isn't in the section of those that won't last, so knocking wakeley down must be something recent, i think instead of the state spending money on demolition they should take that same money and spend it on restoration - it has to be less expensive to replace the wood than to take it down and remove the debris (or will they just leave it in a pile somewhere?).

Puma concolor
01-14-2004, 11:15 PM
Politics ... politics ... politics

Although I'm now a dirty rotten no good valley dweller, I did live in the High Peaks region for close to 6 years and in that time came to realize how hated the APA is by many folks. You can hardly build a doghouse without getting its approval within the Blue Line. Consequently, many locals view them as being nothing more than a big headache. But at the same time, viewed from an outsiders perspective, the APA is one of the main reasons why the Adirondacks have been able to maintain its forever wild status while many other mountainous areas in the country have taken on the all too common suburban sprawl look. So are we supposed to love the APA or hate it? I think that's the dilemma that the ADK often faces and it is commonly put in a position where it has to choose its battles ... it can't lose the forest for the trees. I think that's why the ADK (funded of course by its membership) seeks to protect the more popular of the fire towers while taking a more neutral position on some of those more off the beaten path that are of interest to only us hard core hikers. In effect, it can't butt heads with the APA every time, otherwise the Gods of Ray Brook will come to view the club as an enemy and disregard its imput. The overall philosophy of both the APA and the ADK is similar ... protection of the Adirondacks, but clearly when it gets down to nitty gritty issues like firetowers, the APA views them no differently than any other non-conforming structure while the ADK recognizes their value. I don't envy the position the ADK is in on many issues ... it has to do its best to keep its membership happy as well as not pissing off the APA.

Also, I was flattered to see I was quoted in one of Phil Brown's stories. I used to be "Stickman" before the gremlins ate the forums a few months back. :D

Dennis C.
01-17-2004, 01:08 PM
Quote from the Adirondack Explorer aticle:

'Gary Randorf, a naturalist with the Adirondack Council, believes hikers could still enjoy Wakely even if the tower is removed. “There’s more to climbing a mountain than simply the view at the top,” he said. “You also get the pleasure of hearing the birds and seeing the plants and the forest.” '

Good point, Gary (the last one anyway). But if the tower is removed, the trail will soon follow (will no longer be maintained). Don't think this will happen? There are a lot of former fire tower peak trails that have been abandoned and completely (or nearly) disappeared when the tower was dismantled. A few Adirondack peaks that come to mind : Kempshall, Hamilton, and T Lake. Let's work to preserve these treasures that we still have for future generations.

01-17-2004, 06:03 PM
Quote from the Adirondack Explorer aticle:
'Gary Randorf, a naturalist with the Adirondack Council, believes hikers could still enjoy Wakely even if the tower is removed. “There’s more to climbing a mountain than simply the view at the top,” he said. “You also get the pleasure of hearing the birds and seeing the plants and the forest.” '

if i wanted to just hear the birds & see wildlife, i wouldn't drive 2 hours up route 30 to do it. i would look out my screened window and look up in my field and see much more than i would on a trail since they wouldn't see or hear me coming.... seeing the plants and the forest? all you would see of the forest would be the tree's trunks since they are tall! if you want to see the forest you have to climb the tower... and what a forest it is. that is what makes me drive 2 hours from my place to climb wakely mountain, i think it is about the nicest firetower view around, i don't think i even saw the road the times i was up there, and what a nice view of the high peaks in the distance. i cant recall ever climbing a mountain that a tower "once stood on" that had no view unless it was on a list. why would anyone want to hear the birds or see the forest on a viewless mountain, when they can see the birds and the forest on thier way to a nice view to relax at and take in at the top? i wonder if "gary randorf" made that comment from his recliner?
i better get my butt back up there a few more times before it disappears!

Dennis C.
01-18-2004, 01:43 PM
Ken quote: '.... cant recall ever climbing a mountain that a tower "once stood on" that had no view unless it was on a list.'

The (3) examples I mentioned in my previous post (Kempshall, Hamilton, and T Lake) are all currently viewless, and have summit openings which Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming. And as Ken stated, the only reason I visited them was because they were on a list (ADK 3000 footers). Upon reaching these summits, I felt bad that good recreational opportunities have been lost with these dismantled towers.

01-18-2004, 11:49 PM
That's what the old fire towers and the wide expansive views you get from them give me. I always feel a sense of appreciation for the land and forests you see from them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way, either, so I think it's important to preserve these towers as that will help others to appreciate the ADK's more and sense the need to protect them.

Explorer Editor
01-20-2004, 10:40 AM
I just want to point out that ADK's views on Mt. Adams have evolved since we published the story quoted above. The last I checked, the club was leaning toward a proposal by the Open Space Insitute to keep the summit and the tower in their hands.

01-20-2004, 10:58 AM
>>ADK's views on Mt. Adams have evolved <<

maybe thay will start to realize that they should find out how thier members feel about an issue before the few in power make a decision about the clubs stance on the subject.

01-20-2004, 04:34 PM
I do not understand your opinion of ADK.

Decisions of this sort are always made with substantial input from membership.

Have you participated in that process?

01-20-2004, 05:32 PM
>> Decisions of this sort are always made with substantial input from membership. <<

then tell us... why the switch on the opinion of adams?????????

>>ADK attorney Neil Woodworth said of the parcel the state will buy. “I really don’t think we should give this land less protection than it deserves just to save the fire tower.”<<

>>ADK's views on Mt. Adams have evolved since we published the story quoted above. The last I checked, the club was leaning toward a proposal by the Open Space Insitute to keep the summit and the tower in their hands.<<

01-20-2004, 06:48 PM
I would hope that the position ADK adopts
will give the lands the protection they deserve. Do you wish to give them less? If this can be done and still save the firetower I assume you will be pleased.

01-20-2004, 07:49 PM
>>If this can be done and still save the firetower I assume you will be pleased.<<

i'm sure i won't be the only one that will be pleased.

it just seems that all these agencies and clubs up there want everything ripped out first chance they get (there is wilderness in the catskills and they haven't removed the canisters from the trailess peaks calling them non-conforming structures).

01-20-2004, 08:16 PM
Ken, have you made any real, sustained, honest and respectful effort to communicate directly with people like ADK’s Neil Woodworth, to express your concerns about the firetowers and similar things? If you haven’t, you really should. If you have, then you may disregard the rest of what I have to say here.

Now, I’m not suggesting you will get instant satisfaction, or that ADK will eventually bend to your particular wishes on any given matter. But I am suggesting that if you haven’t gotten actively involved in some way with attempting to shape the organization’s positions and policies on these things you have little reason to gripe about it. Sort of like the old, “if you didn’t vote, don’t whine about the election outcome” thing, even though in cases like the ADK policy on various firetowers you may have to take a little extra personal initiative, beyond the functional equivalent of just showing up on election day.

I’ll say no more except to note that I’ve personally had correspondence with ADK’s Mr. Woodworth on the very issue of firetowers, and found him to be pretty darned reasonable and responsive. I couldn’t fairly have asked for more than what I got in the course of our exchanges.

End of sermon.


01-20-2004, 08:46 PM
just seems to me that a hiking club should be more into preserving trails than eliminating them... without the tower and no general interest in climbing adams, the trail will be in worse shape than it is now, with no one interested in ever seeing adams again except for the few working on the adirondack 100 highest - with the cries to knock down adams, these organizations had thier own agenda in mind, not the general public's - the general public wants the tower preserved as was evidenced by the outpouring of support for saving it on VFTT and in the trail log.

01-21-2004, 07:14 PM
I just picked up a book about Adirondack Fire Towers titled, "Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore: The Southern Districts." The Wakely tower is included in the book. Basically the book gives the history of each fire tower, some stories associated with the tower, and its current state. Below is the description of the book.

About the Author
Marty Podskoch is a retired Middle School teacher who has traveled thousands of miles through the Catskills and Adirondacks gathering stories about fire towers. His first book, Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore, was also published by Purple Mountain Press.

Book Description
New York State lost tens of thousands of acres of woodland to devastating forest fires in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In response, the state placed fire observers on prominent peaks. The first stations were crudely-built log platforms, but these were eventually replaced by high steel towers, and they became destinations for generations of hikers who admired the views from on high and the stories told by the colorful observers. Aerial surveillance, improved communications, and public education in fire prevention eventually made the towers obsolete, and many were removed. Today, some of the remaining towers have been or are being restored for the benefit of hikers. Marty Podskoch brings the history and the stories of the towers in the words of the observers, the rangers who supervised them and the pilots who replaced them in the southern half of New York State's Adirondack Mountains. (This is the first of two volumes.)

01-26-2004, 11:17 PM
I'd like to see the towers all come down and trails closed and opened on rotational basis.
While they are closed they can be rebuilt and whiped into shapes.

I will take lots of money to do this but I have a solution that I am mailing to the governor.

I'm with Phil Brown and Dick Beamish, that the access to the Adirondacks is way too easy. I'm real glad I heard about this site to keep me in touch with home!

Mr Brown and Mr Beamish are the force behind more motorless lakes and that would be great! Because that is jsut the right start we need to limit access to the Park. There are no need for all the people that come in the Park. and living here in Philly the last 6 months everyone says Oh the Adirondacks, oh the adirondacks we have to go back.

yeah I say and wreck it!

There are way WAY to many people on the lakes kayaking and canoeing now, it ruins the forever wild experience. WE need to support the Adirondack Explorer with buying subscriptions and also sending money in to them to fight for closing lakes off to public travel.

I think with a Park Pass ( my creation, don't steal it Phil Brown!lol), you would have certain dates that you were allowed to be in certain areas, that way you'd almost never run into other people or have to deal with a over crowded leanto.

On Tupper Lake we had 35 boyscouts from maryland show up and set up with us, they didn't have permits, they camped in one group and had 17 canoes. They basically were using the campsites the boat ramps, the parking lots that boaters paid for for free, and screwing us to boot! they should have to buy a permit to enter the Park jsut like at Disney Land, and the hours and dates you can be there and which part of the place you can go to is on your pass. In the wrong palce that's a fine and you get expelled, more money for the PARK!

If our cell phones would have worked we would have gotten the rangers on them but as it was 4 foot waves and pouring we weren't crossing the lake to hitch a ride to a phone that night so they got away with it.

I would like to see more lakes closed to easy access by boats, like all of the saranac chain lakes, Tupper, raquette river, long lake, raquette pond, follensby clear ponds, oseetah lake, kiwassa, and blue mtn lake and durant would be awesome flat water if there weren't any boats out there.

But the boat registrations, trailer registrations and state inspections, hutning and fishing licenses too and gas tax pays for the ramps, and DEC / APA people to be there, so we need to start a registration of canoes and kayaks.

There are so many canoes and kayaks on the waters that even if we paid only $25 a year for a kayaking or canoe use sticker in the Park we would raise a lot of money.

a lot!

look at the canoe races alone! we were just one of over 300 canoes in one race, that's $7500 just for registering those canoes alone, and the campsites all have at least one canoe and kayak on the beaches. And the races should be charged a fee for the park too. everyone pays their share we don't need boat money and license money.

I can't believe Pataki over looks this income potential!! that's why I mail him the plan and numbers that NY tourism in Placid says are coming with canoes and kayaks.

And look at the canoe places!

there's one in Rollings Pond right at the ramp, one across from campground, Mac's on Rt 30, St Regis Canoe center has TWO locations, there's at least three in tupper lake. a few on mirror and one on placid too.

The Adirondack Explorer has my full support with ending motorboat use and charging all these out of staters and outer-Park tourists for canoe, kayak and hiking. even if it was $2 per every day you are in teh Park it would be a few million dollars in summer time alone.

the rental places should all be paying $20 at least per canoe for registration, each year, after all they have to register their boats and trailers, and pay inspection on the trailers on top of it.

this would be cheaper for them to not have boats and trailers, just a canoe and a kayak is all you need anyway.

This is all money that should be collected and used to maintain the beat down trials and campsites.

I think the fire towers make more people climb the beat down trails, I was on azure this summer and it was horrible, plus a bunch of indians were climbing the tower and that is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I think the towers are in direct opposition to the forever wild and more motorless lakes idea and they should come down immediately, if hikers were charged to climb the trails we would ahve the money to seed the bare spots and fill the rutted trails in.

Also, the condition of the trails and lean tos is really bad in places and I think a trail pass per day or by season would help fund the great amount of money needed to keep trails and leantos in top shape.
$5 a day per hiker or a season pass for $100 per person would raise lots of money.

We should try to do it voluntarily I think to set the right example.
great site!!!