Mebee Pass Lookout - 2018
|Registry Numbers||US 1551, WA 81 (view other lookouts in United States, Washington)|
|Date Registered||April 12, 2022|
|Nominated by||Christine Estrada|
Okanogan National Forest
Skagit County, Washington
N 48° 37.879' W 120° 46.792' (view using Google Maps)
N 48° 37' 53" W 120° 46' 48"
N 48.631325° W 120.779872°
|Elevation||6,972 ft (2,125 m)|
|Administered by||US Forest Service - Okanogan National Forest|
The Mebee Pass fire lookout is believed to be the last remaining L-5 of its kind. These tiny 10′ x 10′ structures were prefabricated and typically hauled into a secondary lookout site by horse or mule by the US Forest Service and temporarily staffed during times of high fire danger.
Two members of the Forest Fire Lookout Association hiked up to Mebee in 2002 and found the structure severely neglected and barely standing. A helicopter was used to bring in materials to do emergency repairs.
John Scurlock, a well-known talented aerial photographer based in the North Cascades, photographed Mebee on flights in 2006 and 2008. During a flight in 2013 he became concerned that the frail lookout wouldn’t last much longer and spearheaded a restoration effort as well as the creation of the “Friends of Mebee Pass Fire Lookout” organization.
In 2013, Scurlock partnered with several volunteers and the Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu to clear the neglected trail to Mebee to begin restoration efforts. The crew sawed through hundreds of fallen trees and rigged a rather treacherous log crossing across Granite Creek, where a bridge has been out for years. It took them much of the summer of 2013 to clear the trail. With $3,000 of donations in the bank, the crew was able to repair the foundation, replace the roof, repair deteriorated walls, and install a lightning rod. Hi Line helicopters of Darrington assisted in flying in 1,100 pounds of equipment that included lumber, siding, posts, crew supplies, and specially ordered Alaskan yellow cedar shingles.
Scurlock and crew were attentive to historical detail to maintain the structure’s integrity. Their herculean efforts saved this wonderful historical structure for generations to come. Another round of work parties to install windows, shutters, and a proper door are in the early planning stages for possibly 2022.
Mebee Pass Lookout - 2002