It’s taken more than ten years to relocate the Clatskanie Mountain Fire Lookout Tower to its new home at the Hopkins Demonstration Forest in Beavercreek. And, the tower is now ready for education programs at the forest and will be a special place for children and adults to learn about the history of lookouts and their role in wildland fire control throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Clatskanie Mountain Fire Lookout Tower stands 65’ tall. At the top is a 7’ X 7’ cabin surrounded by a catwalk. The tower was originally erected in 1954 as part of the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire protection program in the north Oregon Coast Range east of Astoria. In June of 1984 the tower was decommissioned and moved to the Magness Memorial Tree Farm, near Wilsonville, and operated by the World Forestry Center as an educational exhibit. As the years went by, the tower experienced vandalism and could no longer be properly maintained. In June of 2008, Forests Forever, Inc. entered into an agreement with the Oregon Department of Forestry to relocate the tower to the Hopkins for use as a part of their youth and adult education programs.
“This fire tower project has been a real labor of love,” said Ken Everett, the Executive Director of Forests Forever, Inc. and professional forester. Everett spearheaded the relocation and re-construction of the tower over the years. “Besides dismantling the entire tower to move from Magness to Hopkins, the project had to be permitted with the County, all kinds of engineering requirements had to be met, there was re-fabrication needed of several components, and it wasn’t easy to find the technical help to re-construct everything according to the original design. And, of course, all of this took time and money—and, a lot of both!” According to Everett, one of the project goals was to find people with the knowledge and skills to accurately restore the lookout tower as it had been originally built. And, that took time, too. The steel tower stood alone in the sky at Hopkins for 9 years until Everett found Fire Tower Restoration, a specialty company located in Bloomingdale, New York. The company not only knew all about the historic design, but could fabricate all of components needed to be remanufactured to original specifications. The company sent a crew of their staff to Oregon in December, 2019 to re-construct the tower’s cabin—all done on top of the metal tower. With the cabin and catwalk finally completed, Hopkins volunteers spent much of this past pandemic year replacing all of the stair treads, railings, and safety fencing for public access. The Clatskanie Mountain Fire Lookout is now ready; it’s now home! The Hopkins Demonstration Forest is planning a public dedication and will have the tower open for students and the public later in 2021. The Hopkins Demonstration Forest is a 140-acre woodland property established in 1991to share the story of forest stewardship and sustainable management of natural resources with school students, woodland owners, and the public. Visit the Hopkins website at https://demonstrationforest.org for directions, to learn more about programming at the forest, and how you can become involved.