In the July/August issue of the Explorer, I describe a short hike to the Stillwater Mountain fire tower.
Once the tower is rehabilitated, this will be a nice outing for the general public, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation warns that the tower should not be climbed in the meantime.
DEC spokesman Stephen Litwhiler said the department is unsure of the soundness of the wooden steps leading to the tower’s cab.
The tower’s first two sections of stairs are missing, but on the day of our hike, Sue Bibeau and I used a ladder to reach the stairs that remain in place. Litwhiler now tells me that the ladder should not have been there and will be removed.
You can still hike to the summit, but there isn’t a view from the ground.
Litwhiler said a volunteer group is fixing up the tower, but the project probably will take a few years. After the rehabilitation, DEC plans to create a new trail across the Forest Preserve to the old jeep road leading to the tower. The trail’s route has been surveyed and marked by pink tape. The jeep road and the mountain are on lands owned by Lyme Timber, but the public is allowed to walk along the jeep road to the summit.
The tower provides views of Stillwater Reservoir and vast tracts of wild land, but you’ll have to wait awhile to enjoy them.