September 1953 - National Archives (OPA)
BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN
November 20, 1936: "I cannot say that I envy the Strawberry Peak Lookout who has to meet a total of 5743 visitors during a season, but now, just for comparison, let's shift to another Lookout in the northern part of California, on the Trinity National Forest.
Black Rock Lookout at an elevation of 7769 feet, located on the Yolla Bolly district of the Trinity; received between June 22 and October 20, 1936, a total of 25 visitors. On the total, 14 were Forest Service employees such as packers, relief lookouts, and forest officers; five were cattlemen and 6 were hunters.
The longest period between visitors dated from August 24 to September 14 a total of 21 days. If anyone thinks that three weeks is only a short period, they should try spending it on a lookout peak with only a telephone for company." (California Ranger)
March 8, 1924: "National forest rangers have reconstructed the telephone lines from Weaverville to Helena to supersede the roundabout line by way of Hayfork, and lines from Trinity Center to Minersville and from Trinity Center to the Bonanza King lookout station."
November 21, 1941: "As the sun rolled up the eastern hills one morning this fall, Harry Churchman rolled out of bed, stretched and looked over the surrounding country from Bonanza King Lookout. After checking the territory below his lookout for that telltale trailer of smoke and finding none, Harry checked into the dispatcher with the cryptic but ever pleasant, "OK."
Now, Harry is a person who likes to watch the sun climb to its zenith, so Harry faced the east and there in the rays of the sun a tall plume of smoke was showing. Taking a shot at it, Harry began to check on his map to check the accurate location. He looked over the Sacramento divide -- but the smoke was beyond that ridge. His line went over North Fork Lookout, but the smoke was still further east -- on past Chalk Mountain, which rears its head above Big Bend, on past Bunchgrass, past Bald Mountain, on the Lassen. Then Harry put his finger on the map and said, "It is there." Calling the dispatcher, Harry proudly reported his find.
Over on the Pit District the phone rang, and on answering, Dispatcher Spangler received the report from the dispatcher at Trinity Center, "Bonanza King reports a smoke south of Big Valley Mountain, reading 99-3/4 degrees." Dazed from that report, Spangler swung over to the Hat Creek line, checked with the Lassen Forest Lookout, and to his relief came these words, "Oh! that is just the Little Valley Mill."
Why is all this written about one plume of smoke? Harry Churchman was looking at a smoke 78 miles from his station over the Sacramento, McCloud and Pit Rivers, traversing four Ranger Districts on the Shasta Forest, and two on the Lassen Forest, and accurately placing the smoke on the Bogard District of the Lassen. --M.O. Adams, Shasta -" (California Ranger)
May 11, 1978: "Bieber Chamber of Commerce held it's regular monthly meeting at Conservation Camp 22 Wednesday evening that began with a tour of the camp followed by a buffet dinner prepared by the camp's cooks.
The Camp, located in a forested area a few miles above Nubieber, houses 50 inmates who work eight hours a day, five days a week on three major projects.
In an area of the camp a crew is finishing a fire lookout tower, their fifteenth to date. When finished it will be dismantled and transported to Bully Shoup Mountain west of Redding." (The InterMountain News)
November 4, 1921: "J.F. Lambertson of San Francisco, left his campfire one morning in September, intending to hunt an hour before breakfast. He became lost and about noon, started a fire in the Forest with the idea of attracting his companions. He had, by this time, became quite confused, and scarcely knew what he was doing. He left the fire without extinguishing it, although he stated, afterwards, that he intended to do so. In the meantime, the smoke was seen by W.C. Duncan, Lookout on Dubakella Mt., and he was dispatched to the fire. After working on the fire, which by this time had reached an area of 1/4 acre and making it safe, he discovered Lambertson's tracks and tracked him to Peanut. Lambertson was taken before Justice Dockery of Hayfork and fined $50, which was suspended on account of the circumstances of the case." (California District News Letter)
October 19, 1940: "The mule's claim to intellectual superiority has been seriously challenged. Trinity Forest employees have come to the sad conclusion that the I.Q. of the average mule is in all probability considerably lower than they thought it was.
One lone mule is responsible for this change of opinion. His name is Tom, and according to Supervisor A.G. Brenneis of Weaverville. There is one of the huskiest mules on the Trinity.
In a recent communication, Brenneis recounts what happened shortly after Tom had packed a load of supplies to Eagle Rock lookout.
'The packer tied him to a bush and thought that all was well,' Brenneis writes. 'Shortly, Tom became frightened by something, broke his halter rope and headed down the mountain. Sure that he would return to Big Bar, as any run-of-the-mill mule would, the packer was not greatly disturbed. After eating a meal and smoking a pipe he started on the trail of Tom.
'Later in the day, after many weary miles of tracking, Tom was found in the heart of some of the most rugged country in Trinity County. Here he was, stuck, marooned on the face of a cliff that not even a goat would traverse and unable to move 20 feet either direction.
'After two days' work by forest guards in cutting brush, moving boulders, pleading and coaxing. Tom was removed from the cliff and returned to Big Bar.
'The story should end there, but bright and early on the morning following his return Tom was again headed for Eagle Rock and again broke away. This time, profiting from his previous experience, Tom stuck to the trail until he reached the road. From there he held the center of the road until his pursuers overtook him. He then stood quietly by until the trailer door was opened, walked into the conveyance and heaved a great sigh,
'Maybe Tom isn't as smart as the average mule,' say the fire guards, 'but give him time, he is learning.'" (Oakland Tribune)
July 9, 1930: "C.M. Bucknell left this week for the lookout station on Hammerhorn, where he will pass the summer in the forest service." (Ukiah Republican Press)
December 3, 1930: "Construction of 1200-gallon water tank at Hammerhorn Lookout." (Ukiah Republican Press)
July 1, 1920: "The forest service lookout at the summit of the mountain in Trinity county, known as Hayfork Bally, is Miss Elsie Luckie, a young woman of that section. Miss Luckie lives alone at the summit, 15 miles from the nearest ranch house and 6000 feet above sea level." (The Oregonian – footnote 1)
August 17, 1955: "George Russell, veteran forest service lookout man, witnessed the birth of twin fawns to a wild doe last week.
Emmett Calvert, district ranger at Mad River, says the chances of a person witnessing a 'blessed event' of animals in the wild are so remote as to be almost impossible.
In this case the doe, along with several others had made her home near Horse Ridge Lookout Station for some time, and Russell was fortunate enough to be watching the doe below his tower.
Russell reports that the mother and her two offspring are doing fine and are still living near the station. Papa was nowhere to be seen. He was probably looking for a good dense thicket to use for a hideout during hunting season." (Ukiah Daily Journal)
September 8, 1921: "According to correspondence in this office, Lookout Frank B. Hoffman, of Ironsides, has made quite a hit in some San Francisco schools -- notably, Hawthorne and Bryant schools - by sending them properly labeled specimens of various trees for observation and study. Judging from the letters he has received, some of these had never been seen by children and a great deal of interest seems to have been manifested. This is surprising, as one would naturally suppose that San Francisco children would have access to Golden Gate Park and would be familiar with most ordinary trees. The interest shown makes me wonder whether this lack of knowledge is common in other schools, and whether it might be worth while to route a series of collections to the various schools in that city." (California District News Letter)
October 8, 1938: "A woodpecker's contact with some of the advanced gadgets of civilization has been reported by the lookout service on Limedyke mountain.
After trying out the bark of a large pine tree near the lookout in search of worms, the woodpecker finally flew over the lookout house and settled on the tire of an automobile. What appeared to be a worm was imbedded in a crevice in the tire and the woodpecker fell to with a will.
The 'worm' resisted all ordinary efforts, where upon the woodpecker, leaning back gave it the peck of its life. The beak pierced the tire, the tire deflated with a bang, and the woodpecker was flipflopped over the side of the mountain to regions where civilization has not yet reached." (Olean Times - New York)
MAD RIVER ROCK
September 1, 1935: "Take for instance the scenic and picturesque Mad River Rock Lookout, lying on Mad River Ridge between the valley of that name and the Van Dusen River Valley. This area is in the Coast Range country about midway between the valley and the coast and on the lower road between Redding and Alton.
Visibility mappers located the rock, which towers straight up from the top of the ridge for 200 feet, its top reaching an elevation of 4300 feet above sea level. The ridge is narrow and the ground drops abruptly to the valleys on either side, giving an appearance of a straight drop of some 2500 feet on either side. Visibility mappers are government men who penetrate into the far back country seeking the best spots for locating fire lookouts.
The pair who found Mad River Rock scaled it by using the mountain-climbing device of inching their way up a "chimney" or crevice in the side of the sheer rock face. They were enthusiastic in their recommendation of the rock as an ideal spot for a lookout and approval was finally won from the general forest offices.
Administrative reason made speed in construction necessary. Kaufmann was told to build a road to the foot of the rock and do it all in eight days. He shook his head and undertook the work, his chief Frank Delaney, district ranger promising every assistance possible. It was ONLY eight miles to the nearest highway.
Using a bulldozer, powder and a fleet of trucks and a crew of husky CCC youths the superintendent constructed the road in ten days. He admits that it's not much of a road but the trucks made trip after trip with materials needed for the lookout construction.
Boys climbed the rock, a high line was constructed and lumber and other materials were swung to the top of the rock. Steps were buily from the ground up. Steps? Yes, Sir. 230 of them and its quite a chore to climb them.
But once on top of the rock the view that unfolds is well worth the trip.
There is a deep crevice which reaches in toward the center of the flat top. This will be bridged so that sight-seers may get the full effect of the height over the valley floor.
At the foot of the rock there is a spring and a camp ground will be built there. The road will be improved with as many curves and steep grades eliminated as possible." (Oakland Tribune)
MARY BLAINE MOUNTAIN
First mention in 1924
June 24, 1926: "Ranger Bigelow notified Ranger Frank Graham of the Trinity Forest that he had run an emergency telephone line to Mary Blaine Lookout and hooked up to an Iron phone at the lookout to test it. He wanted to know if Graham could install a switch in the lookout so they could talk directly between the two Districts." (3)
September 17, 1929: "Ranger Bigelow, Salmon River District, wrote to Ranger Hotelling of Trinity Forest that the only telephone on Mary Blaine Lookout was a Klamath telephone. Hotelling replied that he would pack the telephone down next trip and send it parcel post tp Sawyers." (3)
July 7, 1931: "(Clyde Lewis Diary) Inspected Guard Station, then left for Mary Blaine Lookout, checking telephone line all the way. Had dinner with Parker (Mary Blaine Lookout) and then dug holes for telephone poles to hang wire to the lookout building." (4)
November 14, 1931: "Ranger Lewis notified the Supervisor that he heard that Supervisor Barnum of the Trinity Forest was going to abandon the Mary Blaine Mountain Lookout. Since this serves the Klamath, could position be established and financed on the Klamath Forest?" (4)
October 13, 1922: "On Thursday, September 7, Carl Reynolds of Lake Mountain, was burning a log out of a trail on his own land. On Saturday, the Picket Peak Lookout noticed that this particular fire seemed to be spreading so the nearest fireman, W. H. Atkeson was sent there was to investigate. He found that the fire had got away and was nearing the Forest boundary, so he immediately secured some men and went to work on the fire.
On Friday, September 22, Ranger McNeil arrested Carl Reynolds and brought him before Judge Russell of Ruth, where he plead guilty. The man had no mercy so the judge imposed a sentence a sentenced of 30 days in the County Jail, which was suspended." (California District News Letter)
October 12, 1923: "G.W. Russell, the well know lookout man on Picket Peak, had a thrilling experience as a hunter on the opening date of the deer season.
With his trusty rifle in hand, he left the lookout cabin very early on the morning of September 1, expecting to take a turn around the mountain and bring back a buck before it was time to report by telephone to the District Ranger.
After travelling a short distance from the cabin, he espied a large rock set away in a thicket of brush and in that direction he made all haste with the hope of finding the treasured buck. Upon reaching the rock a rapid ascent was made and at the top, to his s8urprise, met face to face a huge mountain lion, who was ascending the rock from the opposite direction with evidently the same ideas in mind as the lookout man, concerning the proper place to hunt.
George states that the appearance of the Big Cat at such short range was a tremendous surprise to him but his aim was true and the first shot was sufficient to put the Big Cat non de combat. - Trinity." (California District News Letter)
March 8, 1933: "A 60-foot steel lookout tower on Pickett Peak, 6000 feet high, in Trinity county, which does duty for several counties, including Mendocino, during the summer fire hazard season, collapsed during the recent snow storm and will probably be an almost total loss, according to Forest Ranger J. Asplund, who made a trip to the peak and found eight feet of snow on the level.
There is a metal house atop the tower which fell in the opposite direction to the lookout house , built two years ago, which otherwise would have been crushed." (Ukiah Republican Press)
June 28, 1940: "Bill Duncan, veteran lookout on the Trinity Forest, claims the record for the first cow ever milked on top of Plummer Peak. Duncan decided he had used canned milk long enough so this year he has built a small corral near the lookout and now has fresh milk and cream daily. - Trinity Forest News -" (California Ranger)
November 7, 1941: "Plummer Peak is a sharp-topped lookout four miles south of Hayfork and just about in the center of the Trinity Forest. The occupant, William Duncan, who incidentally has been on Plummer and nearby Dubakella Mountain for low these 32 years, is not only industrious, but he and Mrs. Duncan have an eye for beauty, a palate for fresh vegetables, and a yen for real milk. Bill has laboriously hauled many loads of earth from the valley below, leveled and fenced a garden plot of about 40 by 75 feet in size and to grow anything, must continually haul water from a spring two miles below.
There, amid thousands of acres of rough forest land, you will find a garden jammed with flowers and vegetables that make a riot of color and an eyeful of beauty. Among the flowers are the deep-maroon coxcombs, gay petunias, brilliantly hued zinnias and asters, spicy nasturtiums, old-fashioned hollyhocks and morning glorys, galardias, gladiolas, and cosmos. And just as a reminder that this is after all an economic world one may pick abundantly of strawberries, cucumbers, corn, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, and lettuce. In the center of the garden are a little gothic shaped pole arbor and a teepee, where vines may climb and twine and cling. Outside the enclosure we also find clumps of berry bushes, while potted begonias and rubber plants adorn the towering lookout.
Below the garden in a side-hill field you hear the tinkle of the bell on Bill's milch cow and a fat Jersey calf feeds in a nearby pen. Barkers and meowers are represented by an old cow dog, a mother dog with her three roly-poly puppies, and a cat. Regular visitors are a fox and her two pups that come nightly for milk that Bill sets out for them. And besides there are frequent visits from deer, an occasional bear, coyotes, and numerous smaller animals. As for quail and other birds, they abound. Everything is a friend of Bill's. If a plant is not doing well it is potted and petted along. One of the finest things I have seen in many a long day is this close bond between Bill and all living things and how they respond to his thoughtful care.
A tail-end to this story might develop from the fact that stationed on another lookout not far away is a man named MacBeth. You remember your Shakespeare-how Duncan was king of Scotland and MacBeth, his vassel, coveted the crown and lands of Duncan. Let's hope MacBeth doesn't covet Duncan's garden, for with all the work of fetching, watering, weeding, and tending, he might be heard to wail, "I didn't know Duncan had so much garden." --Evans - Regional Office -" (California Ranger)
VIRGIN CREEK BUTTES
October 25, 1940: "The Trinity Forest reports that the Virgin Buttes Lookout man has a new method of ridding his "hill" of snakes. He saw five rattlers the first week he was on duty and ran across others quite frequently until two weeks ago when he received his violin by mail. Since then he has seen only one rattler and that individual was heading toward the Klamath River with all possible speed. Can it be that our American rattlesnakes fail to appreciate the finer cultures in life?" (California Ranger)
Although 14 of these fires died out or were extinguished by rains, 7 might have been dangerous had it not been for prompt action by the Guards. In each instance men were on the way to the fires within a short time after it had been sighted and located by the lookout.
That the position of Lookout is not without its excitement is indicated by the fact that Mr. Reid on Weaver Bally had the telephone receiver hurled from his hand by lightning which struck the wire while he was using the telephone. -J.S. Folsom - Trinity -" (California Ranger)
(3) Chronological History of the Klamath National Forest, Vol. III, 1921-1930
(4) Chronological History of the Klamath National Forest, Vol. IV, 1931-1940