In early September 2014, the Maine DOT loaded the original 1909 steel frame onto a flatbed truck and transported it to the Charleston Correctional Facility. The staff at Charleston will oversee the refurbishing of the steel and then it will be painted silver. We hope to gather the necessary materials for the cab construction and transport them to Charleston in the next few weeks. This is a big project and NREC would like to thank and acknowledge all out partners and supporters.
Update on the fire tower project!
Check out the progress on the Fire Tower
On June 10, 1905 the M.G. Shaw Lumber Company in cooperation with the Maine Forest Service, constructed the first full-time manned fire tower in the United States. The fire tower was located on top of Squaw (now called Big Moose) Mountain just north of Greenville, Maine. On August 7, 1993, the fire tower was placed on the National Historic Lookout Register. The cab of the fire tower has been in a state of disrepair for many years yet the original steel frame is in good condition. In 2011, the State of Maine planned to upgrade the telecommunication systems at the fire tower location on top of Big Moose Mountain. At that time an agreement was reached with the Maine Forest Service to remove the steel frame from the historic fire tower with their helicopter and store it on the NREC property in Greenville until further funding could be secured to reconstruct the fire tower.
Last winter, NREC developed a plan to construct a wrap-around deck on the Visitors’ Center on Rte 15 at the entrance to the Moosehead Lake Region. The plan includes attaching a fully restored fire tower to the deck with steps and a hand rail to the cab. NREC will supplement the fire tower with other educational materials such as maps, navigational tools, and other displays related to the importance of fire towers and commercial forest lands to heritage of the Moosehead Lake Region.
This spring NREC received a grant from the Plum Creek Foundation for $7,500 and another grant for $8,500 from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Found toward the plan which is funded from sale of instant lottery tickets. Other partners donating to the project include the Forest Fire Lookout Association, The Maine Forest Service, the Charleston Correctional Facility, and the Moosehead Lake Region Chamber of Commerce. Final plans will be made this summer and construction will begin in the early fall.
NREC has received so much support for this project. We know the public shares our excitement. We plan to have a fully restored fire tower late in the fall of 2014. We will then harvest trees to the northeast of the tower so visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of the mountains to the east of town, including Elephant Mtn, Rum Mtn, and Number 4 Mtn.