2006-07-26 / Other News

Early County fire tower on National Historic Lookout Register

tower, located on Cedar Spring Highway, has been placed on the National Historic Lookout Register as U.S. Tower #661 and State of Georgia #5. The tower was accepted for listing March 15, 2006.

Pictured above from left, are Greg Findley, District Forester; Don Shedd, NHLR State Registrar; John Godwin, Chief Ranger; Aaron Reichard, Ranger 1; Tony Gentry, Ranger 1; and Steven Bonner, Ranger 1. Pictured above from left, are Greg Findley, District Forester; Don Shedd, NHLR State Registrar; John Godwin, Chief Ranger; Aaron Reichard, Ranger 1; Tony Gentry, Ranger 1; and Steven Bonner, Ranger 1. The Early County Tower, originally constructed by the Georgia Forestry Commission in 1952, is a 100-foot Aeromotor tower with a 7'x7' metal cab and was staffed until late 1987. The tower, a community landmark, is still used as a radio facility.

Brenda Jones was instrumental in having Early county citizens complete the necessary steps for recognizing the tower for its role in forest conservation. The Forest Fire Lookout Association, founded in 1990, is an organization involved in research and promoting public awareness of current and former fire lookout sites, ground cabins, and early forest fire detection methods.

The organization helps facilitate restoration of threatened lookouts by cooperating with federal, state and private landowners along with private and public groups.

The membership is composed of lookout enthusiasts, hikers, foresters, conservationists, forest fire personnel, authors and members of the forestry industry.

Anyone interested in membership should get in touch with Don Shedd, NHLR State Registrar, 2499 Pannell RD, Monroe, Ga., 30655.

The Georgia Forestry Commission had over 300 towers in operation at one time with 144 currently on their property listing. Changes in detection procedures and budgetary limitations have led to the reduction in actively manned towers. There are additional towers in the state of Georgia in private ownership. A total of five are on the National Register.

The National Historic Lookout Register is a function of the American Resources Group, Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the Forest Fire Lookout Association, the National Forestry Association, the National Woodland Owners Association, and state and federal forestry agencies.

The purpose of the register is to recognize both active and inactive fire towers and ground lookouts. Registration often leads to volunteer activities in both maintenance and educational programs at these sites. The program is a combination of positive public involvement and protection of historic sites.

Shedd, state of Georgia registrar, stated, "this is wonderful to have the people of Early County show their initiative in protecting this sentinel of past forestry protection practices."

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