Do you have pictures of fire lookouts? Do you know where those lookouts once stood? Have you talked with folks that remember lookouts? Do you like to sniff out old trails and roads and see if you can find footings or remnants of old fire lookouts?
If the answer to any of the above questions is "yes," then you have something to add to the forestry history of the United States. All you need are a memory, pictures, and the ability to use the Internet. You can post your information with recognition for your efforts.
At one time, there were over 8,000 fire lookouts in 49 states according to the national inventory completed by the Forest Fire Lookout Association in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. Today, fewer than 2,000 lookouts remain. FFLA's goal is to recognize, help maintain, and restore as many as possible. Currently, there are over 2,000 lookouts registered on the National Historic Lookout Register. Most receive some level of maintenance and about 500 are staffed by paid observers or volunteers.
We are in a race with time as abandoned fire towers are sold for scrap to make way for cell towers and other antennas on high points throughout America. Members of FFLA continue to do all they can to prevent that, and are becoming more successful every year. Some lookouts get moved to parks, fairgrounds and museums where people can visit and learn of the proud history of these recognized symbols of forest conservation. Others are sold to private parties who move them to their own woodlands and farms to enjoy and preserve them. A few, especially in the south, revert to the landowner when the forestry agency no longer can staff them and face an uncertain future until one of us comes forward with an offer to help.