Deadman Tower one of last lookouts in Colorado; volunteers work to keep it staffed, save others

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - A fire lookout tower in a remote part of Larimer County is one of only 14 still standing in the state and six still staffed.

Deadman Tower, located near Red Feather Lakes, stands at well over 10,000 feet and has 72 steps.

It was built in 1961 to replace a wooden tower that was erected in 1939, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The original purpose was to look for wildfires," said lookout volunteer Bill Zoller. "Most of that activity now is done from the air."

Kent Argow, of Denver, is a member of the Forest Fire Lookout Association, an organization dedicated to saving the 2,600 lookouts still standing nationwide.

"They are historic -- they belong to you and me.  And, just because there are other methods of fire detection now does not mean the fire towers are any less effective than they ever were," said Argow.

Argow said he wishes all the lookouts were still open and fully staffed.

"As a home owner, if I own property within a line-eye sight of that tower, I would demand that somebody be up there at all times … Nobody else is going to be looking," he said.

7NEWS Photojournalist Major King asked Argow why the towers are not used for that purpose anymore.

"A big part of it is the budget cuts. There's just not as much money funding these sorts of activities right now.  The Forest Service needs money," said Argow.

Argow said the lookouts are something he and others hope is still around for the next generation.

"It belongs to all of us. As taxpayers, we all have a right to go up and enjoy it. It's a beautiful place to be in and it should be preserved and used. It's no less effective for fire detection right now, than it was 50 years ago," he said.

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