Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for coming out to the Buck Mountain Fire Tower Trail ribbon cutting
My name is Alexandra Roalsvig and I’m the Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for the Town of Long Lake. Back in June of 2020 we had a meeting to discuss new recreation opportunities and were planning on figuring out what assets the town should be identifying to bring people into the community and give them a unique Adirondack experience. From that meeting the notion of acquiring rights to built trail to the the top of Buck Mountain (located on the way to Tupper) From there, the project ballooned into an attainable goal and it took a lot of measured steps, meetings, supplies, stakeholders, volunteers and so much more and I am very happy today to be sharing some of what has done behind the scenes to get to today
This brand new trail build and fire tower restoration is a testament to the hard work and dedication of many people. From a hint of an idea in June of 2020, to fruition, now in September 2023, it took a lot of moving parts, planning and bumps along the way, but we got here.
There were many project partners in this that we must extend a huge thank you to for helping make this happen.
First off a huge thank you to our generous landowner, Cedar Heights Timber, LLC. Thank you to Ian Schaad and Cedar Heights for his support and generosity and patience with us as we navigated this complicated project. This is the first time this fire tower has been accessible to the public since its installation in 1933. In addition I’d like to extend a thank you to Finch Regional Forest Manager Len Cronin for his guidance, collaboration and helping out with every step along the way. Thank you
We must thank the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, especially Brian Wells and Bill Farber for their support in seeing this project through from beginning to end. Bill Farber was instrumental in connecting all the pieces to make this happen. His ability to find fire tower consultants, pull the Adirondack Mountain Club in to build the most challenging part of the trail, to the New York State Forest Fire Lookout Association and to motivating multiple stakeholder groups to work together to get this done. Bill has an aptitude for getting people to see a vision and get together for a project of this size was an essential component in making this a success. If one didn’t work, he’d know the next person to call to ensure we got this project going and on it’s way.
Thank you so much to Hamilton County Soil and Water, Lenny, Jamie, Caitlin. The ADK Mountain Club for working two seasons to design a sustainable trail which included 11 stone and wooden staircases, incorporating 500 feet of elevation, multiple span and bog bridges and two seasons of crews and volunteers to get it done. We thank them for including us in the ADK Mt. Club Firetower Challenge and we are also adding it to the Hamilton County Fire Tower Challenge.
And a huge thank you to Mike Vilegi of the Excelsior Fire Tower Group for his knowledge and expertise for guiding us through installing a new sheet metal roof, treads, galvanized steps and fencing. His energy, enthusiasm and knowledge is unparalled in the fire tower world, so I thank you Mike for talking me through this entire project from start to finish.
The parking lot was designed for 40 cars to avoid roadside congestion. Thank you to Donnelly Logging, Hamilton County Highway Department, including Tracey Eldridge and especially Johnny Walker and the Long Lake Highway Department, Ian Schaad and Cedar Heights Timber for pulling this vision all together. Everyone contributed to this massive build and it’s appreciated.
I’d also like to thank the New York State Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association volunteers for their willingness to come out on the first snow day in September last year to start painting the fire tower. It was brisk but their spirits were high.
Also I’d like to thank Long Lake Town Supervisor Clay Arsenault for saying yes to this project, and for his never-ending enthusiasm to see this project through when at times, it seemed endless. There are so many people, volunteers that made this happen and we can’t thank you enough.
Support for this trail build and fire tower restoration was made by the Generous Acts funds at the Adirondack Foundation and from the Adirondack Community Recreation Alliance at the Northern Forest Center.
From the top of the fire tower you can see for miles in every direction. You can see the Bog Stream, Round Lake, Cat Mountain, Little Tupper Lake, Blue Mountain, Owls Head Mountain, the Santanoni Range, Mount Morris and Coney Mountain and endless lakes, forest and lush Adirondack beauty.
And finally thank you to Chad Baker who’s spent more time on this mountain than he ever wants to remember. Thank you to Erik Arsenault, Cindy Black for taking over painting duties, Tim Helms, Logan Kendall, Garrit Clark, Keith Austin, Matt LaPlant, and Josh Lewis, Alan Parker, Michael Lamphear and Chip Farr and Johnny Walker – -all of you on the crew, for coming together to make this happen in times of snow, mud, rain, bugs, humidity, Canadian Wildfire smoke, delays due to wetland permits, floods and finally to opening on what has already been a spectacular September.
We hope everyone enjoys this trail and spreads the word. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the Adirondacks and thank you again to Cedar Heights Timber for this incredible asset which will provide community members, visitors and extended family a quintessential Adirondack experience in Long Lake, New York for many years to come.