W. Va. Fire Tower Becoming Overnight Lodge

April 26, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on W. Va. Fire Tower Becoming Overnight Lodge

This fire tower Seneca State Forest is being converted into an overnight camping facility. Photo by Chris Dorst and the Charleston Gazette.

To call it a room with a view is an understatement as vast as the forested landscape that can be seen from it.

The West Virginia state park system’s newest overnight accommodation was built to take in the most complete panorama possible of the Pocahontas County highlands and Greenbrier River Valley, the Charleston Gazette reported.

The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, built in 1935 on a platform 55 feet above the top of a 3,415-foot peak in Seneca State Forest, is being renovated and refitted for a new life as a backcountry retreat.

“This is the only fire tower in the state that was built in the western style, with a large cab that let the observer live on top of the tower, instead of in a cabin at its base,” said Bob Beanblossom, regional administrator for the West Virginia State Park system.

Beanblossom, whose career with the state began as a Division of Forestry firefighter and included time as an observer in a Mingo County fire tower, came up with the idea of converting the tower into a lodging venue.

“Out West, a number of inactive fire towers and their cabins are available to the public” by paying fees to the U.S. Forest Service or other agencies, he said. When work on the Thorny Mountain tower is complete, probably sometime in June, “it will be one of a very few fire towers in the east that people can stay in,” he said.

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