Forest Service Benefits From the Civilian Conservation Corps Hat Point Fire Lookout Tower, Imnaha Oregon
The Forest Service, after it's birth early in the 20th Century, discovered a great need for facilities of all types. The fire storms of 1910 showed a need for fire lookout facilities that varied from crude mountain top facilities to sophisticated towers equipped with Osborn Fire Finders and telephone systems. There was a need for physical plant facilities for ranger stations, guard stations, pack stations, roads and trails, telephone communication systems, and reforestation of lands that had been clear-cut as well as those destroyed by insects, disease and fires.
To accommodate these requirements for physical facilities, the Forest Service in it's Regions developed standard building plans for the myriad of plant facilities it required for the day-to-day operation of the National Forest system. This development coincided with the advent of the Civilian Conservation Corps which furnished a 3,000,000 man work force to supplement the permanent employees of the Forest Service.
As a result of this fortunate union, Oregon has been left a legacy of Forest service designed buildings, bridges, lookout towers, roads, trails, and observation points, and twenty-two State Parks, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1934, the CCC built the first road into Hat Point. Prior to this time, the only way in was pedestrian travel, horseback, or horse/ mule pack train. The road opened the area to tourism, and visitors began to arrive from all over the world to visit the deepest gorge in North America. At that time, the lookout tower was a ninty foot, whole log structure.
This legacy includes the Hat Point Lookout Tower. The architects of Region 6, under the direction of the Regional Forester, developed various standard building plans and specifications. Forest Service architectural design and Civilian Conservation Corps skilled and unskilled labor built many of the facilities in use today. One of these, the CT-1 (not built by CCC) eventually replaced the log tower. This collaboration also pumped money into the Great Depression economy through the purchase of the building materials required for the building construction.