If you plan on working on ADK’s Fire Tower Challenge this summer here are a couple of quick updates on some of the fire towers for the upcoming hiking season.
Wakely Mt. will remain closed through July.
In late 2016, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) engineers inspected the concrete footings of the Wakely Mt. fire tower and found them to be unstable, needing urgent repair. DEC closed the tower to public access. ADK’s Fire Tower Challenge does not require towers themselves to be climbed and in fact does not recommend tower climbing in unsafe conditions (windy, icy steps, unstable towers). At the time Wakely remained in ADK’s Fire Tower Challenge. When DEC engineers did a follow-up inspection in May 2017, it was determined that tower instability posed a significant public safety risk beyond what was previously estimated. Tower collapse was highly probable. DEC closed the trail in May 2017 and the Glens Falls-Saratoga Chapter of ADK, creators and maintainers of ADK’s Fire Tower Challenge, temporarily removed Wakely Mt. from the challenge until DEC authorized the reopening of the trail. Challenge hikes to Wakely are disqualified during the closure period. DEC is scheduled to repair the footings in late June with a planned trail reopening by early July at which time Wakely Mt. fire tower will rejoin ADK’s Fire Tower Challenge.
Pillsbury Mt. fire tower will receive repair.
DEC will repair and replace caging that has fallen off near the top of the tower. DEC is working to relocate the radio equipment with plans to reopen the tower cab in 2019.
Blue Mt. fire tower will be restored.
The cement building at the base of the tower and all radio equipment has been removed. DEC is working on a project to restore the tower to its historical design. This project is planned to be completed this year.
Overlook Mt. fire tower has new parking area.
The new Meads Meadow trailhead parking lot on McDaniel Road on Overlook Mountain in the Town of Woodstock has been opened for the public to use. More information here.
If you would like more information about hikes up mountains in the Adirondacks and the Catskills with fire towers check out the new edition of Views From On High.