It’s been absent for nearly a year, but now the Mason Ridge Fire Tower is back in place in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. The tower has stood above the trees since 1930. Its original purpose was to serve as a lookout so park rangers could see if there was a forest fire.
Morgan-Monroe State Forest Assistant Property Manager Joshua Kush said the tower would help assist fire officials in the event of a blaze. “Currently this county is under a burn ban and this is an essential resources that could be used if a fire pops up and we’re in need of a location because there’s quite a bit of land around here to cover.”
In the event of a fire someone is sent up the tower to pinpoint the location… Through the years the tower has also become a bit of a local tourist attraction. Nearby residents, hikers, and people who picnic in the park can climb nearly to the top to look out over the forest.
Crews were forced to dismantle the tower last year because the 80 year old wood was deteriorating and not safe for people to climb on. The State Forest used grant money to make the repairs…..and it’s taken nearly a year to complete the work.
“It will continue adding benefit for future generations to experience the history and see actually what previous practices were used in locating forest fires,” said Kush.
Kush said the plan is to start letting people climb up the tower soon – just in time to capture great breathtaking views of the fall foliage.