Lookout Mountain (Sawtooth National Recreation Area)
In the Sawtooth National Recreation Area an historic lookout is being refurbished so it can eventually be placed in the Forest Service's rental program. The structure built by the CCC is located at the top of Lookout Mountain overlooking both the White Cloud and Sawtooth Mountains. Doug Stephens who's in charge of the project is part of a special Forest Service enterprise team. He travels around the country doing historic renovations like this one. For this project Stevens was able to bring in a helicopter to help deliver building materials to the remote peak where the lookout is perched.
"We're bringing in a lot of beams a lot of heavy boards, new shutters for the lookout, and we prefabricated those down in Stanley and so they were just large heavy items that really needed a helicopter. We are six miles and approximately 2,500 feet elevation gain up a very steep trail that with a lot of very sharp turns and there's a lot of sharp switchbacks in the trail it would make it really hard to carry 14 foot, 16 foot 4x6s up this trail. The loads have to be estimated for the size the helicopter can handle. This is a tight spot, a small ledge and as soon as the materials are dropped we have to clear them out to store on the mountain top."
"Part of the thing that's unique about this lookout is its sitting on a place where there's barely room for it. Often lookouts like this are on a much broader surface on the top of the peak and it's amazing that they chose this place to build this lookout here. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp which makes it very historic and it's still in good shape. It needs some work obviously hence all the materials that we're bringing up here, but it's still savable and it's an important part of our history so that's why we need to save it. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that and then you can just step back and you can see that you've done something."