Volunteers Restoring Pinchot Fire Tower

MILFORD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- For firefighters in the Poconos, an old fire tower is a real throwback, and now, it's being preserved.

Volunteers are working to restore one of the Pinchot towers at its new home in Pike County.

The men have spent months working on the project that is near and dear to people at Grey Towers National Historic Site in the Milford area.

A fire tower that is roughly 100 years old and more than 30-feet high once stood atop Big Pocono near Tannersville. Now, it's being restored.

"This one's weathered. We had to demolish it right down to the bone," said volunteer Ed Duvinski.

So far, these volunteers have replaced the floor of the fire tower, stripped it, painted it, and even found windows half-the-state away.

"So far, it's been easy. It's demolition. It's the easy part, don't have to worry about hurting anything or breaking anything," said volunteer Rich Edgar.

As Lori McKean with the US Forest Service explains, Gifford Pinchot founded the federal agency, and as the governor of Pennsylvania, had fire towers like this one put up in state forests. Grey Towers was Pinchot's home.

"He introduced the idea of fire suppression and fire management as a way to protect Pennsylvania's forests," said McKean.

In about a year when the Pinchot fire tower is complete and restored, it'll be put in a learning area behind the mansion in Milford, making a place where people can come learn about the significance of those fire towers and help preserve forest land across Pennsylvania.

"It fits so well into the Pinchot legacy," volunteer Ed Braniff said. "We are going to put this back to the way it was delivered in 1920."

Volunteers say they could always use some extra hands, and they rely on donations to help finish the job.

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