Historic Fire Tower Has Reopened


Want to get a new perspective on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes? See it from the sky at the top of the historic Pequot Lakes Fire Tower.

After spending some time closed for evaluation and renovations, the fire tower is once again open to the public. This is a great activity for just about anyone in the family, though naturally there is some climbing involved.

The tower was built in 1934 as a lookout for seasonal wildfires. It was part of a network of towers in the state that were manned primarily in the dry parts of the spring, before green-up. At that time, the tower was equipped with special maps and tools that allowed for the triangulation of the wildfires in then sparsely-occupied wilderness.

The fire tower program phased out as aircraft became more widely available and affordable as a means to detect wildfires. Eventually, the population in the area and the prevalence of the cell phone meant that fire towers were no longer needed.

Today the tower can once again be a popular attraction for the public to climb and take in the view. The path to the top of the hill and the base of the tower is perhaps one-half to three-quarter miles long, and from there it's about 130 steps to the top of the 100 foot tower.

Those with a fear of heights may find themselves challenged on their way to the top of the tower, but those who make the trek will be rewarded with sweeping views of the entire area, including the Whitefish Chain.

The tower is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. Look around the area near the top of the hill to find the foundation of the tower man's house, now long gone, or have a picnic in the shelter at the trailhead.

The tower is located on County Road 11 just east of Pequot Lakes and west of Breezy Point.

Read more about the reopening of the tower in our local newspaper or on the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway website. 

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