July 28, 2012 in Outdoors

Lookout getting a new outlook

Abandoned Spyglass Peak structures being restored
By The Spokesman-Review

Volunteers begin refurbishing a national forest lookout on Spyglass Peak in the upper reaches of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River in July. Age, weather and vandalism had damaged it.
(Full-size photo)

Volunteers recently began refurbishing a national forest lookout ravaged by age, weather and vandalism on Spyglass Peak in the upper reaches of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River.

The U.S. Forest Service has partnered with Lutherhaven Ministries and the Forest Fire Lookout Association to renovate three historic structures: the Spyglass lookout tower, an outhouse and a ground cabin where workers who staffed the lookout lived when the lookout was operational.

The structures have been vacant for more than 20 years, said Jason Kirchner, Idaho Panhandle National Forests spokesman.

Lutherhaven Ministries owns Shoshone Base Camp, a former Forest Service facility along the North Fork transformed into a Christian youth camp. The camp brings youth from around the country to North Idaho for public service projects.

Lutherhaven applied for two regional grants and was awarded more than $25,000 for the project, Kirchner said.

In addition, the camp is providing a youthful labor force of volunteers. “We have teams of teens from around the country there on Spyglass Mountain for three weeks getting the restoration under way,” said Bob Baker, Lutherhaven’s executive director.

Additional volunteers and expertise have come from the Forest Fire Lookout Association and Forest Service employees.

Steve Matz, retired Forest Service archaeologist, is coordinating the multiyear project. When complete, the lookout will be incorporated into the forest’s recreational cabin rental program, Kirchner said.

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