While I was researching my article on Peter Barr’s new book, Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers, I discovered that there’s some uncertainty about the future of the Shuckstack Lookout Tower located in the southwestern corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The source of this uncertainty stems from this statement made by park officials:
“Since the use of Shuckstack as part of the radio system has been discontinued, park management will need to make a decision about the need for and future of this tower”
Built in 1934 by the CCC, the tower overlooks the Smokies, Unicoi, Snowbird, Nantahala, and Blue Ridge Mountains. It also offers spectacular views of Fontana Dam.
These days the Shuckstack tower has fallen into disrepair. Several loose steps and a missing railing make the 60-foot climb a little frightening, and those who reach its top find holes and a partially rotted floor. Obviously, the steel tower is in desperate need of restoration.
“Fire lookouts in North Carolina are a dying breed,” says Barr. “About a third of the lookouts that once stood in the state are gone. Others are so badly deteriorated that they face removal. Most people assume that the towers on public lands are still maintained; sadly, this is far from true.”
In order to preserve the tower, Mr. Barr is encouraging people to write letters to Park Superintendent, Dale Mitmason. You can find more information on this campaign by following this link.
What are your thought on this? Is this a piece of history that should be preserved, or is it an eyesore that should be removed in order to return the mountain to its natural state?
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