Clay Butte Fire Lookout, WY 2023
Clay Butte Fire Lookout, WY 2023

Clay Butte Fire Lookout, WY 2023

Clay Butte Fire Lookout, WY 2023

High above the cascading hills of the Shoshone National Forest is the Clay Butte Fire Lookout – a WWII era monolith now serving as a public attraction and champion of the Forest’s past. 

PROJECT PARTNER: Shoshone National Forest

SESSION DATES: July 16-21, July 23-28, July 30 – August 4, and August 6-11

PROJECT SUPERVISOR: Ian “IO Oeser and Reid Saunders

CREW LEADER: Charles Dobry 

Project Site Description & History

The Clay Butte Fire Lookout spans more than 80 years of history with the Shoshone National Forest, marking a crossroads between the prolific Civilian Conservation Corps and the redistribution of resources with the onset of World War II. Built in 1942 by CCC crews who were disbanded and reallocated toward war effort, the lookout was later completed by members of the Shoshone National Forest.

By 1970 the lookout became obsolete with modern fire detection systems emerging that would reimagine how the forests of the USDA would better detect its large tracts of uninterrupted wilderness. Today, the Clay Butte Fire Lookout stands as a mid-century timepiece frequented by tourists and history buffs with a keen eye for a good view. At an elevation of approximately 9800′ with a panoramic vista of the Beartooth Mountains and the surrounding spectacles of the Shoshone, there’s plenty of reasons why you might want to head up the buttes of northwestern Wyoming and lend a hand.

HistoriCorps is scheduled to begin its restoration efforts in mid-July through mid-August and we invite you to join us for jaw-dropping time in the beautiful Shoshone National Forest. For more information about the Clay Butte Fire Lookout Tower, please visit the Forest’s website here.

Location and Logistics

SESSION DATES: July 16-21, July 23-28, July 30 – August 4, and August 6-11

Please plan to arrive at the campsite no earlier than 5pm and no later than 7pm on the first day of your session.

LOCATION: Located roughly 90 minutes north of Cody, WY.


  • ACCESS:    Tent camping only Site is RV/trailer accessible

Tents, truck-campers, campervans, and potentially trailers will have access to our campground. RV spaces are not available at this location. Showers are not available and dogs are allowed but must be leashed. We’ll be working at an elevation close to 10,000 ft so please come prepared for high altitude conditions.

WEATHER:  Anticipate highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. Weather conditions may be rainy, cloudy, or sunny. Volunteers are responsible for checking weather conditions before their session begins, and packing appropriately.

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work gloves, clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Scope of Work


HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers and applying the traditional skills necessary to restore the Clay Butte Fire Lookout:

  • Rehabilitate catwalk decking
  • Carpentry repairs to exterior wood elements and sills
  • Rehabilitate shudders
  • Repair and replace deteriorated siding
  • Rehabilitate wooden sash windows and screens

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer!


Visit our Job Calendar to see if a project session is full.

*All registrations submitted to projects at capacity will be automatically added to our waitlist.*

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies: 

  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night. 
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, work gloves, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places. 
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email for help. 
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day. 
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work. 
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you. 
  • Hard hats, eye protection, ear protection, gloves are standard personal protection equipment (PPE) required on all projects. Hard hats must be worn at all times on the project site, unless working in a designated safe space. Field staff will train volunteers on correct use of PPE. 
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.