Mt. Nimham Fire Tower restoration gets a boost
By Eric Gross     October 19, 2000

In 1994, vandals burned the observer's cabin and damaged the steps of the fire tower making it unsafe for visitation.

KENT- The old adage "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" was never more defined than it was when Assemblyman Willis Stephens joined members of the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee on a field trip to the Mt. Nimham Fire Tower in Kent.

The Putnam-Dutchess lawmaker brought with him a check for $7,500 which was turned over to the committee for use in the tower's restoration project.

George Baum, chairman of the committee, said the 90-foot tall tower was constructed in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and by New York state and is currently listed with the National Historic Lookout Register.

Although not used for fire detection in many years, the tower is maintained as a radio repeater site for the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. In 1994, vandals burned the observer's cabin and damaged the steps of the fire tower making it unsafe for visitation.

Mr. Baum and his colleagues Jim Baker and Thomas Morgan have spearheaded a drive to restore New York state's tallest fire tower.

"When you are on top of this tower, you are at the pinnacle of Putnam County," said Mr. Baum. Mr. Baum said on a clear day, the Empire State Building was visible from the tower along with the twin peaks of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. "The view is majestic," he said.

Mr. Baum said the entire restoration will cost in the neighborhood of $15,000. "Slowly but surely we have proceeded but thanks to the efforts of Assemblyman Stephens, a grant will move the project forward much more rapidly," he said.

Mr. Stephens said he was "really taken by the enormity of the project. This tower is a remarkable structure. It is a piece of history that people who enjoy the out-of-doors are attracted to."

The assemblyman said he was fortunate to be able to secure "some member initiative funding that will help these volunteers with their very aggressive goal."

Mr. Stephens also encouraged others to "contribute both your time and money so that the tower may become a reality."

Tax deductible contributions may be forwarded to Friends of Mt. Nimham, Box, 191, Carmel, NY 10512.

Mr. Baker has requested that checks be made payable to PLAN KENT and the words "fire tower" be written on the front of the check.

"Certainly, one option should always be, what happens if we just let it alone and let it resort to its fully natural state? A forest left alone and allowed over time to become something approximating what was here before settlement is the best of all possible worlds." - Bob Irwin, Conservation Director, World Wildlife Fund
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