Lookouts a plus, remains are not

Regarding the July 22 Viewpoints commentary, “Eroding our wilderness”: I have never been to an abandoned lookout site that did not show evidence of its former location in the form of concrete, broken window glass, eyebolts, etc. All materials are not recovered when a lookout is removed. Many examples exist. (Rock Mountain, Mount Pugh, Crater Park.). The views were not changed, just the overall experience.

Several lookouts I have visited were closed or greatly modified. HayBrook, and Alpine lookouts were intact and locked up. The Green Mountain lookout that I have visited twice was closed due to safety concerns. Mt. Pilchuck lookout is in its third or fourth incarnation and is one of the most visited sites in our county. These sites look much better than a debris field that is found at abandoned sites.

I have been to a number of lookouts that are beautifully preserved cultural artifacts of an era long passed. They all were built prior to the passing of the Wilderness Act and they represent the era of the Manned Forest Fire Lookouts. These lookouts are being preserved by several volunteer groups. These include lookouts at Park Butte, Three Fingers, Winchester, Hidden Lakes Park, and Desolation Park. These are spectacular places to visit. The presence of a lookout offers a glimpse into the past, and the views are savored undiminished.

So now, due to purest who apparently prefer to view the remains of lookouts, we are in jeopardy of losing a rebuilt lookout. A better solution would be to leave the Green Mountain lookout alone, in place, at the summit of the mountain. If laws or regulations were broken or bent, seek clarification, explanation, and modification of the rules to permit the maintenance of cultural artifacts that pre-exist the Wilderness Act.

Neil Westover