The Hunter Mountain Fire Tower Celebrates 100 Years of Standing Watch

Saturday, August 19th, two dozen fire tower admirers, volunteers, and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) officials gathered atop Hunter Mountain’s 4,000-foot summit to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the mount’s Fire Tower. 

The day was summer perfection and one of the last professional Fire Tower Observers, Diann Byrne Thorpe was the guest of honor. Hunter Mountain Fire Tower Volunteer Coordinator Gordon Hoekstra hosted the event. A memorial plaque was installed as a tribute to the fire tower and the men and women who served as observers. 

In 1917, the Hunter Mountain fire tower was built at the summit of Hunter Mountain. For 72 years the Fire Tower Observers watched for forest fires from the cab atop the tower. It was decommissioned in 1989, but reopened in the early 2000’s so hikers can learn about the history of this historic landmark and enjoy the views from the top.

The event was also an opportunity to celebrate the completion of recent improvements to the fire tower by the NYSDEC and volunteers. $48,000 in renovations, including a new roof, the painting of the tower, window repair and the replacement of metal grates surrounding the fire tower landing, were completed earlier this summer.

Catskill Center Executive Director, Jeff Senterman, attended the dedication and stated: "I was delighted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hunter Mountain fire tower with our volunteers and our friends from NYSDEC. The Catskill Fire Tower Project is comprised of an amazing community of volunteers who welcome hikers and generously enrich their mountaintop experience."

The Hunter Mountain Fire Tower is managed by the volunteers of the Catskill Fire Tower Project. For more information, please contact the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development at 845-586-2611 or