Oklahoma Forestry Service Possibly Moving Cherokee Co. Tower

Tuesday, October 8th 2019, 8:49 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The Oklahoma Forestry Service no longer needs most fire towers, so one in Cherokee County, even though it's historic, is considered surplus. There's a chance it could be moved, to another forest, closer to Tulsa.

The Beaver Mountain Lookout was used to protect the forest near Cookson from the 1950's to 1997, and now abandoned, it could moved to the Keystone Ancient Forest Preserve in Sand Springs.

That' s why the Sand Springs Parks Department sent a crew to the top of the mountain to get a look, and determine if the tower can be moved - and at what cost.

It's 100 feet to the top of the old tower, which despite its age, is still sound.

From the windows, about 1600' above sea level, the view to the horizon is 30 miles at least.

Sand Springs Parks Director Jeff Edwards thinks that perspective would work with a different view.

"I think there's enough adventurous people out there who would be up for a climb like this and I mean you can look down and say gosh we are a long ways out I'm afraid of heights but the climb doesn't feel unstable you don't feel at risk at any time," Edwards said. 

Sand Springs Economic Development Director Grant Gerondale, said it's an idea he's been thinking about for 20 years.

"We've always wanted to be able to let people see the big picture and see the tree canopy from above and there's just no other way to do it other than getting up in this thing," Gerondale said.

That view was perfect to spot fires at a distance, and a large compass helped place it on the map. A lookout would triangulate with other towers to get the exact location. Now that work is done largely from satellites.