Judge Orders the Removal of Historic Green Mountain Lookout

Statement by David J. Brown Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

District of Columbia (March 30, 2012) – Yesterday, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour issued a ruling in the case of Wilderness Watch v. Iwamoto requiring the Forest Service to remove the historic Green Mountain Lookout from Washington State’s Glacier Peak Wilderness.  The following is a statement by David Brown, chief preservation officer and executive vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“The National Trust is deeply disappointed by the judge’s decision, which takes an extreme view of the Wilderness Act and which egregiously orders the removal of the historic Green Mountain Lookout from its original location.  The lookout has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for more than 20 years, and is a great point of pride to many in the local community, whose parents and grandparents helped build it to protect the forest from fire damage.

 “Fire lookouts are tangible reminders tangible reminders of our history.  Their significance cannot be fully appreciated outside of their historical context.  Removing Green Mountain Lookout undermines our ability to understand the important contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps to our Nation's heritage.  The fire lookouts they constructed throughout America's public lands have long served as points of inspiration and pride to the American people.”

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BACKGROUND ON GREEN MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT

Green Mountain Lookout was built in 1933 as a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps for fire detection, and used by the U.S. Army to spot enemy aircraft during World War II.  The Lookout was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.  In 1999, the Lookout received a $50,000 Save America’s Treasures grant to enable its restoration.  Volunteers committed thousands of hours in a successful effort to repair the historic site.

Wilderness Watch had requested the court to order the removal of Green Mountain Lookout from its perch atop a remote mountain peak near Darrington, Wash., arguing that  that the Wilderness Act’s requirements were superior to those of the National Historic Preservation Act, regardless of the fact that the Green Mountain Lookout predated the wilderness designation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Forest Fire Lookout Association, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and Darrington Historical Society participated as friends of the court in defense of the Forest Service’s stewardship of the historic lookout with generous pro bono assistance from Elaine Spencer of Graham & Dunn PC in its Seattle office as well as Lisa Hemmer, Faculty at the University of Maryland School of Law.

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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