Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mt. Arab Fire Tower Hike: "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires."

Our two-for-one fire tower sister hike on June 1st began with Mt. Arab. Because of its spectacular views (in good weather) and easy trail, Mt. Arab is a frequently hiked mountain in the Adirondacks. The name Arab is believed to have come from a bad translation of the French word "arable" which means Maple (Mountain).

Our hike to the summit began around 10 am. We stopped along the way to take pictures of trilliums and the greenery. Typically taking pictures is our excuse to rest, but these were truly picture taking sessions; I'd love to attribute this to us being whipped into shape from all of our recent adventures, but I'm sure the mere C+ difficulty rating of the hike contributed.

The weather was disappointing varying from misty to drizzle, except at the top where we had encountered some showers. The clouds and fog obstructed our view, however, just short of the summit, I was able to capture a picture of the Mt Arab and Eagle Crag Lakes.

Behind us admiring the view stood a wooden bench dedicated to Betty and John Loughran, a couple who found the mountain for someone in 1929, though I was unable to figure out for whom they found it for... They obviously were not the original founders since the first observers were in the tower in 1911.

We took cover under the roof of the observer's cabin and enjoyed some lunch and read about the views since we could not see them. This was our first climbable tower in about a year so we eagerly went to the top and took pictures of down below.

The original wooden tower, constructed in 1911, was replaced by the current one in 1918. Aside from watching for forest fires, the observers had several duties, including maintaining the trails, watching for planes during wartime, and educating hikers on environmental conservation and preventing forest fires. They would give all hikers that reached the summit a card, signed by them, to prove that they had reached the summit. During years of the ad council's popular PSA campaign of Smokey the Bear, the observer would pass out silver coins featuring Smokey the Bear and his slogan, "Only you can prevent forest fires"

The tower has been maintained by The Friends of Mount Arab, a group which was formed on Earth Day, 1997. The St. Lawrence County Environmental Management Council formed this group, along with other organizations such as the DEC, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the Town of Piercefield, and discussed what to do about the deteriorating conditions of the tower and cabin at the summit of Mt. Arab. Thank you Friends of Mt. Arab for maintaining this piece of Adirondack History and for keeping the tower climbable!

You can see all my pictures from that day, including those of Mt. Goodnow. on my Flickr page, or by clicking on any of the pictures above.

Mt. Arab Stats:
Round Trip Time: 1 hr 30 minutes (depending on picture taking and lunch break)
Round Trip Distance: 2.1 miles
Elevation Change 760 ft
Elevation of summit: 2545 ft
Difficulty: Easy with varying grades

Information from:
Explore Mt. Arab
Mt. Arab Fire Tower Waymark
History of the Fire Observers


WendyTheWanderer said...

Back before you were born, the fire towers had men up on top. Anybody could climb the stairs to visit. You would get a business card like thing telling the tower's name and the date climbed. I still have a bunch of those :-)

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

I was about nine when the last last observer left his post in NY, but I'm not sure if they were still passing out cards at that point. It's really neat that you have some saved though!

I wish there were at least a guide at the top to tell you what all the surrounding mountains and lakes were since I don't always know.

storybeader said...

I always love reading your posts. Great pics, as always. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Please DO NOT stop! I feel like I can live here even if I am so far away. It is my spirit to move someplace with this kind of atmosphere, just not in the cards.


A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Thanks for the frequent flying Story and Lily!

Lily, its funny because many people up here migrate to where you are for the winter!