In the draft plans for each tower, DEC also suggests refurbishing the them so that hikers can climb to the top, noting that as the “preferred alternative.”
“The tower would be maintained for full public access, including the stairs and cab (open cabin area on top), and written interpretive materials would be strategically placed within the unit so as to be informative but not intrusive.”
DEC would, in both tower plans, “sign an agreement with a volunteer organization to be present during higher-use periods for the purpose of educating the public and monitoring use of the (fire tower) unit. Volunteers would also be sought to assist with opening the tower for public use as well as the long-term maintenance of the tower.”
The draft plans outline the use of helicopters that may be needed to deliver steel and other materials for tower renovation, saying DEC staff would be required to monitor any building process. And helicopters would not fly during the nesting season of the rare Bicknell’s thrush, between May 15 and Aug. 1.
DEC also reviewed possible handicapped accessibility, but there is no plan to provide any elevator or electrical method to climb the tower at the top of Hurricane or St. Regis mountains.
DEC is proposing, however, that “as interpretive materials related to the fire tower are developed, they will be delivered in a manner that is accessible to people of all abilities. This may include web based materials, wheelchair accessible kiosks at the trailheads, and written educational materials.”
Email Kim Smith Dedam: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find the unit-management plans for Hurricane and St. Regis fire towers at DEC Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook and at the town offices in Santa Clara (St. Regis tower) and in Keene (Hurricane tower). Or go online. Hurricane tower: www.dec.ny.gov/lands/78001.html Saint Regis tower: www.dec.ny.gov/lands/78006.html
Mail written comments through Nov. 25 to: Josh Clague, Natural Resources Planner DEC, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4254 Or email to: email@example.com.