Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower
US 9, NY 1

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 9, NY 1 (view other lookouts in United States, New York)
Date Registered November 30, 1990
Nominated by Bill Rudge, Senior Forester, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Region 3
Location Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest
Ulster County, New York
Coordinates N 42° 02.724' W 074° 35.676' (view using Google Maps)
N 42° 02' 43" W 074° 35' 41"
N 42.045395° W 074.594604°
Elevation 3,720 ft (1,134 m)
Administered by New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Cooperators New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Region 3

Description

Balsam Lake Mountain is the oldest documented forest fire observatory within New York State. In 1887 the land was owned by the Balsam Lake Club, and fire was a serious concern to large land owners such as the club. They erected a tower made from timbers found on the mountain top and paid a man to staff the tower during dry conditions. This tower was struck by lightning and burned down about 1901. The club built a similar wood tower on the mountain in 1905. When the state began their fire tower system in 1909 operation of the Balsam Lake Mtn. facility was transferred to the state. The tower has been fully restored and is open to the public. It is also registered on the National Register of Historic Places, and the National Historic Lookout Register.

Map

Change Basemap

Photos

1910--1905 Wood Tower (NYS-DEC photo, courtesy Bill Starr)

1910--1905 Wood Tower (NYS-DEC photo, courtesy Bill Starr)

Crew that built original wooden tower - 1887 photo

Crew that built original wooden tower - 1887 photo

Visit Reports

April 18, 2007: RICH C. ROLLER

Condition

Needs paint? No Response
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Good condition? Yes
Comments: The painting of the Tower was completed this past summer and a new map for the map table was installed(thanks Dave Clarke NJSAR) the landing's and stairs will be painted again this year.And a new Radio was installed (thanks Bryan Enberg NJSAR)

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? Yes
Directions to tower signed? Yes
Comments? New signs were made (old school router type) by Rich Roller and a new Smokey was donated for the front door (thanks Jack Shuart NJSAR )

Staffing

Staffed? Yes
Many thanks to my great staff Pete O'Connor my right hand Peter O'connor JR Bryan sinniscalci (NY State Fire Warden) and Laurie and Tom.Also special thanks to BobSpear for all his help and guidence. Also special thanks to Kevin Drake my section warden NJFFS for his guidence.

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? No Response
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? No Response

July 11, 2005: Rich C. Roller

Condition

Needs paint? Yes
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Good condition? Yes
Comments: Painting of the tower is currently underway.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No
Other enroachments? THE INTERIOR OF THE TOWER CAB HAS BEEN REPAINTED ,AND THE EXTERIOR PAINTING IS UNDERWAY, COMMUNICATION'S HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AND A NEW ANTENNA HAS BEEN INSTALLED. WEATHER REPORTS ARE GIVEN TO STERLING TOWER EVERY SAT. AND SUN.

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? Yes
Directions to tower signed? Yes

Staffing

Staffed? Yes
WE ARE FULLY STAFFED AND OPEN FROM FRIDAY MORNING AT 0900 UNTIL SUNDAY EVENING AT 1700 HOURS AND INTO THE WEEK IF A HOLIDAY SHOULD FALL ON A WEEK DAY.

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes

August 21, 2004: Rich C. Roller

Condition

Needs paint? Yes
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Good condition? Yes
Comments: Awaiting delivery of paint from D.E.C. for the Tower new antenna to be installed on 8/28/04 for observer's radio.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? Yes
Directions to tower signed? Yes

Staffing

Staffed? Yes
Staffed by volunteer's Bill Watson (Chairman) Rich Roller, Pete O'Connor, Ken Kitchell. Tower is up and operational from friday morning 09:00 till sunday afternoon 16:00

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes

July 29, 2004: Bob Spear

Condition

Needs paint? No Response
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Good condition? Yes

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? Yes
Directions to tower signed? Yes

Staffing

Staffed? Yes

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes