Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest and Fire Tower

History along the Finger Lakes Trail

Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest and Fire Tower

Livingston Manor, New York 12758, United States

Created By: Diane Lebo Wallace


Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest contains more than 13,500 acres of "forever wild" Forest Preserve located at the head of the Beaverkill Valley, an area famous as the cradle of fly fishing in America. Alder Lake is one of the few Catskills lakes with excellent trout fishing and has been referred to as "the manifestation of something better than the common things of every-day life - it is a sanctum for the spiritual renaissance of mind and the rejuvenation of the body." With an extensive trail network to several ponds, this area is ideal for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, backpacking, canoeing and cross-country skiing.

The terrain is a combination of high mountain ridges, steep sided valleys, and numerous brooks and ponds, with elevations ranging from a low of 1,740 feet along Mill Brook to a high of 3,723 feet at the summit of Balsam Lake Mountain.

Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower, open Memorial Day through Columbus Day, is the first forest fire tower in New York State and was erected on Balsam Lake Mountain (elevation 3,723 ft.) in 1887. Built of wood by the Balsam Lake Club, it survived until 1901 and was replaced with another wooden tower in 1905. Telephone lines, a small observer's cabin and a road to the summit were added in 1909 when the state took it over. The first steel tower was erected in 1919, and the present steel tower (47 feet tall) was built in 1930.

Info from NYS DEC

FLT Map 32

This point of interest is part of the tour: History along the Finger Lakes Trail


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