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Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower

Preservation Magazine online, published by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently reported on the Adirondack Park Agency’s vote to reclassify the land around two Adirondack Fire Towers as “historic”.

The article (found here) includes one of our photos. Yay us!

Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Full View

Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower

Hurricane Mountain was one of the first hikes we did after moving here, and that photo is one of my favorites from last winter. I think it really captures how unique and interesting it can be to experience a fire tower on top of an Adirondack summit.

However, I am still not sure where I ultimately stand on this issue. I get very uneasy when we start talking about altering or making exceptions to the Land Master Plan. This is the plan that helps define and protect the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and I worry about the precedent that “spot zoning” can set.

If there is one thing that has been painfully obvious since I’ve become more familiar with Adirondack politics, it is that exceptions to rules quickly become entitlements. Absent air tight regulations, someone will always try to push the limit of what is and is not allowed on land within the Park.

Bending the rules in this way tends to have a cumulative affect whereby the exception is used as a benchmark for later decisions, instead of the original rule. One look no further than recent boathouse or upland development debates to see this in action.

That said, if ever a reasonable “case-by-case” exception were possible in the Park – without having larger implications – I think this could be it. Or I should say, I hope this is it.

Fire towers definitely are a fun, unique, and yes, historic part of the Park. It would be really nice if we could keep them were they are, without compromising the integrity of the Forest Preserve.

Of course, my opinion on this subject is admittedly tainted with emotion since discovering that I can see Hurricane Tower from our yard. There is no denying it, I would miss it if it were removed.


  1. Willard

    Dave you’re right about the fire tower as a part of the Adirondack history, They are indeed a part of it. And they should do what ever they can to save them, but in DEC mind they are and eye sore and should be taken down, that’s way they are being saved and restored. But there are still some on the hit list and who knows they might be gone in no time. At one point they are were on the hit list to be taken down. Take DEC they says the Adirondack park is to be forever wild with no building of any kind on there land, if that’s the case then they are braking the law them self. Way i say that is because they have lean-too and outhouses on the trails and lakes and such, so there braking the law by having them there. They say no building of any kind and they are a building. The Adirondack Park Agency’s can come up with some really stupid rules some time. But then they can come up with something good too. Willard

  2. Eduardo

    Nice site Dave, congratulations.

    Hurricane is one my favorites on the Adirondacks. I go back there once a year and everytime I climb the tower. To look at the High Peaks from up there is fascinating. You can have a (small) feeling of it by looking at a 360 interactive panorama I did in 2009 from the lookout: (sorry about the tinyurl, the full link is a bit long), and the best immersive experience, click on the fullscreen button then click and drag the panorama to look around. Enjoy!

    • Dave

      Hey Eduardo,

      Glad you like the site!

      I took a look at your interactive 360 and it is awesome. The firetower reproduction in particular caught my eye, it is extremely detailed – has a bit of a Half Life feel to it (and I mean that as a compliment).

      If you don’t mind geeking out a little bit, I’d love to hear some of the details about how you went about creating this. It is really very cool.

  3. Eduardo

    “…has a bit of a Half Life feel to it…” It does, doesn’t it? More than the view, it’s the history that’s imbued on it that make me enjoy so much about being up there in the lookout. You guys are very lucky to live in the ADKs and I really admire what you did. This is something I and my wife would love to do.

    About the interactive panorama: It’s made from 6 shots around + 1 straight up +1 straight down, all stitched together using a dedicated program for that. For the shots I use a tripod with a panoramic head to reduce paralax between the shots to a minimum. — I would love to have enough funds and buy a 600$ carbon-fiber tripod and make my rucksack lighter. Add 2lt of water to the already heavy photo gear and you have a perfectly hazardous pack.

    After that, it’s computer work: covert from RAW, maybe some pre-stitching process like reducing noise, then stitching, then working on Photoshop to correct stitching errors, noise reduction, sharpening, color correction, local and overall enhancing, etc. Then the publishing part which basically consists on rendering the whole thing into cube faces (the display seems like a sphere or a bubble but in fact it’s a cube) for the Flash player to display.

    * D300s with 10.5mm 2.8 Nikkor fisheye;
    * Panoramic head is a Nodal Ninja 3;
    * A good and stable tripod;
    * PTGui (stitching);
    * Photoshop (post processing);
    * Pano2QTVR (although you can output it on PTGui);
    * Flash Panorama Player (FPP) for the display (there are others)

    There’s good information at and Jeffrey Martin from 360Cities has some videos on how to shot a panorama at , going from tripod+pano head to just a string, weight and rubber band. 🙂

    Take care!

    • Eduardo

      “Pano2QTVR (although you can output it on PTGui);” err, I mean “Pano2QTVR (for outputting the cube faces, although you can do it on PTGui)”

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