Did you know that at one time, Idaho had the highest concentration of fire lookout towers in the world? It’s true! At the peak of operation, Idaho had 992 lookouts in service and Washington had 658. The greatest density of towers was in the St. Joe River drainage, where some towers were less than three miles apart. The primary purpose of the fire lookout was for the detection of forest fires. The most notable wildfire that struck the inland Northwest in Idaho, Montana, and eastern Washington was the famous 1910 fire. When fires were detected, the lookout person would report the fire location to a dispatcher who would initiate fire suppression action. Initially, the communication was by telephone via miles and miles of telephone wire; but was later replaced with radio communications. Unfortunately, modern day technology has replaced most fire lookouts with satellite imaging and aerial reconnaissance to spot forest fires.
Today, there are fewer than 200 left standing and out of those less than 50 are actually still in service. Fortunately, there are several organizations that understand the historical significance of these lookouts and continue to work hard to preserve them.
For those who are adventurous, you can now rent many of these lookouts for several nights at a time. Virtually every one of these towers offers unparalleled views of the inland Northwest’s pristine forests and mountains since they are perched on mountain peaks. Many of the visitor logbooks at these towers will be full of statements such as “most amazing view of the Milky Way I’ve ever encountered.” Whether you enjoy wildlife photography, hiking, bird watching, or simple seek solitude, TMI Tours can assist you in creating a Lookout Tower Adventure. Several towers in the North Idaho area are accessible with four wheel drive vehicles.
Let us make all of the arrangements for you! From transportation to bedding and top notch cuisine…we’ll do all of the legwork for you! You simply need to relax and enjoy! Call Linda Bruno or Rhonda Sand today at 1-800-975-7775 to begin planning your Lookout Tower Adventure.