Save or Destroy? The Future of the Green Mountain Lookout

Green Mountain Lookout at sunset.

Brian Turner

Perched atop Green Mountain in the rugged Glacier Peak Wilderness sits the Green Mountain fire lookout.
(UPDATE: President Obama signed this into law on April 15, 2014, ensuring that Green Mountain Lookout would be saved)
Like a dutiful sentinel, the lookout quietly watches over the wild, waiting for visitors to make their way through beautiful alpine meadows to the summit of Green Mountain. 
To be honest, I haven’t had the pleasure of hiking the Green Mountain trail or setting my feet or eyes upon the Green Mountain lookout. I keep telling myself I’ll go there someday soon -- if the stars, moon and other cosmic wonders stay aligned long enough to afford me the opportunity. A few obstacles stand in the way: (1) the western gateway into the Glacier Peak Wilderness (Suiattle Road) is washed out in a number of places and (thankfully) slated for restoration over the next few years—once the repairs are complete, the trailhead will be much easier to reach (check out our previous blog on this issue); and (2) the fate of the lookout is uncertain. 
Lookout lovers, Glacier Peak Wilderness explorers and historic preservation buffs in Washington have followed the saga of the Green Mountain Lookout, anxiously awaiting the final verdict …will it stay or will it go? Some  wilderness advocates want it to go, to return the wilderness to its truly wild state; local hikers and other conservation groups like The Wilderness Society and volunteers who have contributed hundreds of hours toward its restoration want it to remain. 
The lookout’s fate will ultimately be decided by who wins the race against time…will Congress win the race, passing legislation—the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 908/S. 404)—to ensure the lookout can remain and be maintained in the Glacier Peak Wilderness? This legislation would have to pass before the Forest Service completes the planning, analysis and decision-making process required to comply with the court-ordered removal of the lookout. Or will the Forest Service beat Congress to the punch and remove the lookout from its historic home?  
The Wilderness Society would like to see the Green Mountain Lookout remain on Green Mountain. The only way for this to happen is if Congress passes legislation that allows it to stay. That is why we are doing all we can to work with our delegation and other Congressional leaders to pass the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act. We thank the tireless efforts of Reps. Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to save the Green Mountain Lookout.
It will be an all-hands-on-deck effort to save this historic landmark and we'll need all the help we can get.