Volunteers Restore Wildhorse Lookout Near Gold Beach, Ore.

May 27, 2014

For the second time, volunteers are rebuilding a fire lookout station used for years to scan the Rogue-Illinois watershed forests northeast of Gold Beach, Ore.

Winter storms in 2007-2008 trashed the Wildhorse Lookout cabin, breaking 320 square feet of glass and damaging the 40-foot tower.  The Civilian Conservation Corps had constructed the original lookout in 1934.  Winter storms crushed it in 1947, and it was rebuilt. 

The U.S. Forest Service has used the site since the 1920s as a fire lookout.  It served as an Aerial Warning Service outpost in 1942, searching the skies for planes amid fears of a Japanese invasion of the American mainland. 

Volunteers from the Sand Mountain Society are handling the current restoration.  The Society sends small groups of workers around the Pacific Northwest to stabilize and rehabilitate historic structures, including lookouts.  So far the Wildhorse restoration has been limited to salvaging the collapsed cabin and repairing the tower and subfloor.  Cabin boards are being stripped, sanded and painted for reassembly. 

The Society anticipates that upon completion in a couple of years the lookout may be added to the Forest Service’s Recreation Cabin Rental Program.


Sources: Hoffman, Hannah. Curry County Reporter 20 Aug. 2008 [Gold Beach, Oregon].  "Wildhorse Lookout." SMS. Sand Mountain Society, Web. 3 Apr. 2014. Hunter, Kim. Partnership Coordinator, Gold Beach Ranger Station, USFS. Telephone interview and e-mail message. 6 Mar. 2014.