Topic ID #33118 - posted 7/14/2014 1:30 AM

Volunteer opportunity: Preservation of the Black Mountain Fire Lookout Tower, Bighorn NF, WY

Jennifer Palmer

Bighorn NF
New! Preservation of the Black Mountain Fire Lookout Tower

August 4-8; 11-15, 2014

Must commit to one full session; may participate in both

Join us in the beautiful Bighorn Mountains this August as we preserve one of Wyoming's historic treasures! Our focus this summer will be on the Black Mountain Fire Lookout Tower. Lookout towers, in general, are well-recognized symbols of forest conservation in the United States, representing national efforts to protect and maintain natural resources. In 1910, catastrophic and widespread fires in the northern Rocky Mountains led to new forest fire prevention and suppression policies, making early detection of wildfires a Forest Service priority. New lookout towers were built across the nation, reflecting both technological advances in wild fire management and a nation-wide shift toward the sustainable use of natural resources. In 1939, the Black Mountain Lookout Tower was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and added to this arsenal of forest and resource protection and preservation structures.

The Tower is 14'x14', built with a catwalk, and placed on a solid stone foundation to serve as sentinel for the north end of Bighorn National Forest. It was in regular use until 1987, but has since been little more than a monument to times past. It is located on an exposed, windy flattop, and has now been vacant for 27 years. As such, time and the elements have taken their toll, and the tower is in need of maintenance and repair. So, we need your help! PIT volunteers and Forest staff will join preservation experts from HistoriCorps, a Colorado-based, public-private venture that specializes in the restoration of historic structures, to give the Lookout the TLC it needs, and so it can be available for use as a cabin rental in the Forest Servic's Cabin Rental Program, and/or as an interpretive site. Participants will replace log railing, the catwalk, and two entry doors; repair and repaint the structure's plywood shutters; re-shingle the cedar roof; repoint the stone foundation; stain the exterior, and install a toilet. HistoriCorps will provide the tools, safety equipment, and training necessary to complete each task, and will provide us with three square meals per day, and the water we need for this sweaty and dusty work.

There is much to see and do here in those hours "off the clock" as well: the Bighorns boast some of the best vistas in the country, and hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife viewing and more await you. So, join us this summer as we put this historic gem "back on the map!"

Please note: we will accept applications only until the project is filled, so apply today!

Number of openings: 10 (5 per session)

Special skills: Must be physically capable of hiking up to 5 miles per day over steadily increasing/decreasing gains in elevation (the site requires a 1.5 mile daily hike in and out); must be physically capable of sustained lifting, bending, kneeling, and standing for several hours each day, at high altitude (9,500' asl), and in variable weather conditions; previous construction, maintenance, roofing, masonry, painting/staining, and/or historic preservation experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Dispersed camping at or near site available at no charge; chemical toilet; all meals and water provided by HistoriCorps; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment and transportation; site and surrounds accessible by all vehicle types

Nearest towns: Dayton, 21 miles; Ranchester, 24 miles; Sheridan, 42 miles

Applications due: Ongoing until filled

More info here:


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