Green Mountain Lookout, in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness.
Credit: Brian Turner (National Trust for Historic Preservation).
The bill, passed in the Senate and House on April 3 and 7, respectively, blocks the court-ordered removal of the beloved landmark in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness. The newly-passed measure was championed by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA).
“The Lookout has long served as a popular and historic hiking destination as well as a functioning fire lookout and a place where wilderness visitors can get educational information from Forest Service staff,” said Benjamin Greuel, Washington state director for The Wilderness Society.
An integral part of the wild Pacific Northwest
Built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as an outpost for monitoring wildfires, the Green Mountain Lookout has been a destination for hikers in the stunning Glacier Peak Wilderness for years. It is especially popular among residents of nearby Darrington, Washington, which was devastated by the recent mudslide that claimed more than 30 lives. This lent new significance to the campaign to protect the structure, with Sen. Murray hailing the bill as a “glimmer of hope for the long-term recovery of this region.” The lookout’s value to the region has led The Wilderness Society and other conservation and historical preservation groups to support saving it. Despite this, others claimed that repairing and restoring the lookout compromised the natural purity of the area, leading to a legal challenge.
However, the Green Mountain Lookout has long since become an integral part of the wild Pacific Northwest, used seasonally by wilderness rangers and occupying a place on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1984, the Glacier Peak Wilderness was even expanded to include it. In an editorial published in February, the Seattle Times recommended the passage of a Green Mountain Lookout protection bill, reflecting the popularity of the attraction in the region.
Watch Sens. Murray and Cantwell secure passage of the bill in the Senate: