Restoration project to begin on Harney Peak - KOTA Territory News

Restoration project to begin on Harney Peak

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A historic lookout tower built on the highest point in South Dakota is getting restored.    

On Monday, U.S. Forest Service members and volunteers hiked to the Harney Peak Lookout Tower.

From September 9th through the 13th, they will install windows, doors, and lay mortar mix for stairs leading to the former fire watch station.

Archaeologist Matt Padilla says the restoration work will replicate the towers historic look.    

"Well we're lucky we have the original drawing plans from the CCC," said Padilla. "And so we're going off of that, and going off the material list, and going off measurements."

The tower was built in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation's Corps, to serve as a fire lookout station.

After years of use, renovations, and an eventual closure, the tower still serves as a destination for hikers, and needs many repairs including wall reconstruction, upper window replacement, paint, and more.

These will be fixed as funds become available for the U.S. Forest Service.

The materials and tools for the project had to be carried in by mules because the lookout is located in the Black Elk Wilderness, and no motor vehicles are permitted.

The restoration team made the three–and–a–half mile trek to the work site, and many of them plan on repeating the hike over the course of the week.

Wayne Boots is happy to work on the project, but know how physically demanding this week will be. 

"Oh it's a hike," he said. "But it's good exercise." 

Boots is one of 19 volunteers.

The National Historic Trust gave $5,000 for this project form the preservation fund.

In 1983 the Harney Peak Lookout Tower was added to the U.S. historic places.

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