The Buck Mountain Fire Lookout Tower was built in 1939 and was used seasonally to detect and report wildfires. In 2003 the Forest performed major rehabilitation of the lookout that required replacement of the catwalk and stairway, cabin walls, a tower support member and the installation of lighting protection. The Ranger District no longer actively uses the lookout for surveillance and fire prevention and proposes to reuse the historic lookout as a recreation facility for public lodging as part of the Forest Service Arizona Cabin Rental Program. Currently, the lookout requires maintenance and repairs to make it safe for public use. Once the fire lookout tower is repaired and approved as a recreational cabin rental, it will be the only historic lookout available to the public for lodging in the Southwest region. The lookout rental will provide a unique opportunity for the public and sustainable stewardship of a NRHP listed historic facility.
Fire lookout towers like this were once critical assets in the fight against forest fires. Today, advances in fire management technology have rendered lookouts relics of the past, and just a handful of fire lookouts are still actively staffed. Because they offer incredible views and are often located in spectacular areas, fire towers are often popular destinations for hikers, and several are even available for overnight guests – imagine sleeping thirty feet off the ground! Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and could, with some HistoriCorps TLC, one day be opened up to the public for rent.
The lookout tower is located just 40 miles south of Flagstaff along the Mogollon Rim (pronounced muggy-on
), which stretches 200 miles and rises 2,000 feet from the landscape. The traditional homeland of the Hohokam, Hopi, Hopitutskwa, and Western Apache
peoples, the Rim is a celebrated destination for folks seeking it cooler climes during scorching southern summers. It offers expansive pine forests and several fishing areas
along with miles of hiking, biking, and horse-riding
trails. The Rim itself features sedimentary, volcanic and metamorphic rock dating as far back as the Precambrian era (Earth’s oldest).
There are few experiences that inspire awe in the landscapes around us as much as climbing a mountain, mesa, or fire tower. Enjoy the view on this project, and know that your work will serve not only the forest’s past, but its future.