Monday, July 27, 2009

Fairview Peak Fire Lookout PIT

fairview I mentioned in my last post that I have been selected to participate in another Forest Service, Passport in Time project. The last two projects I did were both archaeological surveys. This project will help restore the highest fire lookout in the United States. This lookout was built in 1907 and unlike later fire “towers” that were all built to a Forest Service design, this was built in what is called “pioneer” design with local materials.

Here’s the official write-up for the project:

Fairview Peak Fire Lookout Restoration

August 13-18, 2009 (including weekends)

Must commit to minimum of 2 days

This will be our third year of working with PIT volunteers to restore the stone Fairview Peak Fire lookout. The lookout was constructed around 1907, at the 13,214 ft. summit of Fairview Peak overlooking Taylor Park. It is eligible to the National Register of Historic Places, but was in severe disrepair when it was inspected in 2007. We have spent the past two years working on the roof and the stone walls. This summer, we will repair the south (and final) wall and complete work on the interior walls. We will also transport windows and a door up the mountain and install them. Finally, we will draw plans for the reconstruction of the cupola, which will take place over subsequent years. Our goal is to have the lookout completely restored to its original condition by its centennial. In order to meet that goal, we need your help. Come join us for this historic endeavor!

Number of openings: 10

Special skills: Must be physically capable of hiking and working at high altitudes; carpentry experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 5 years old, under 18 with a responsible adult

Facilities: Camping at a developed campground near the project; water, pit toilets; RV spaces, limited hookups; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment and food; Gunnison is a full-service community with hotels/motels, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities; volunteers staying in Gunnison must commute to the project in the mornings

Nearest towns: Pitkin, 10 miles; Gunnison, 35 miles

This should be a challenging project for me as it will involve a lot more physical exertion than the past projects. Also note that the work will be done at an elevation of 13,214 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL! I have spoken to some people that have worked on this project in the past and they confirm that it’s a tough go, to work at that altitude. The campground that we will stay in is at 11,000 ft so that means every day we will have to climb 2000 ft to the project site. Somehow we are also carrying a window and a door up the mountain to install on the building!

Below is a topographic map of the area and you can see that there is no easy route up the mountain. I’m excited about the challenge and hope that I’m physically up to it.

There is yet another Forest Service Project which I may participate in during September. I’ll tell you more about that one in a later post.

fairview map

Thanks for visiting.


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