Photos of lookout tree on Ochoco National Forest in Oregon

Black Mountain Lookout Tree
Black Mountain Lookout Tree, Steve Stenkamp

Steve Stenkamp sent us photos of another lookout tree in Oregon. This one is on the Ochoco National Forest between Bend and John Day. Previously he documented one on the Deschutes National Forest in Central Oregon.

Years ago, in order to detect new ignitions of wildfires, land management agencies occasionally took advantage of tall trees on hilltops, building platforms near the top with ladders or other climbing aids below.

Mr. Stenkamp used his Phantom 3 Pro drone to get these photos.

Black Mountain Lookout Tree
Black Mountain Lookout Tree, Steve Stenkamp.

“The unique feature is the ‘resting platform’ about 30 feet up,” Mr. Stenkamp said. “The ground cabin was moved to the Ochoco Guard Station when the lookout went out of service.”

Black Mountain Lookout Tree, Steve Stenkamp
Black Mountain Lookout Tree
Resting platform on the Black Mountain Lookout Tree, Steve Stenkamp
Black Mountain Lookout Tree
Black Mountain Lookout Tree, USFS archives.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

9 thoughts on “Photos of lookout tree on Ochoco National Forest in Oregon”

  1. Thanks for posting the pic. I love seeing vintage Forest Ser. NPS photos. Lookout towers aircraft trucks and equipment. Hoping in the near future to decorate with some vintage photos and such

    1. Thanks for sharing Bill, Very cool images, I had no idea that lookouts like those existed. I have several trees for lookouts after dry T-cells roll my area in spring and summer. But those are hundreds of feet off the ground. They look pretty sketchy to be in in a windy T storm event.
      Godspeed to us stay safe everyone,
      -Jamie B

  2. Interesting that some of the trees were dead. Has anyone looked into the causal factors leading to their demise, and if the construction of the platforms had any role?

    I used to count, measure, and core trees on the Plumas in the late fifties and early sixties. While running transects one windy day (not uncommon) when a large ponderosa showed up in my compass notch. I sized ‘er up and decided to run to ‘er base, hugged her trunk till I was half-way ’round ‘er, took another sighting and ran a out a chain when a huge branch came out of the top and landed behind me. I ran from big, old trees thereafter. A big tree smashed the pickup cab and one of my buddies, and as we were setting up camp one time, they were hauling a logger out, his flattened (round) hard hat covering the spot where his head used to be. Another friend almost died as a dead alder fell on his car while he was driving. When you work in the woods, you expect that. Not every tree in the forest can be made safe. But along public rights-of-way? What’s the responsibility there?

    When it comes to urban trees, however, sentiment often trumps life. I logged this ridiculous example into my tree condition and failure assessment study when the question first came up. Apparently, the Congress used to pose for pictures under it. Is “urban forestry” real?

    https://wildfiretoday.com/2017/12/27/hazardous-tree-on-the-white-house-lawn/

    About the same time, a tree on White House property fell across a busy intersection, harmlessly. Several days later, another much like it and in a similar position, killed a man. But the beat goes on. It’s “old news” in a day or two. Was the first a shot across the bow? (Enter Missouri Mule joke here.)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/huge-tree-falls-at-edge-of-white-house-grounds/2017/04/10/fcf3b6aa-1db6-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.1cc261a4d488

    http://www.pennlive.com/nation-world/2017/04/falling_tree_kills_maintenance.html
    PennLive

    http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/dc/large-tree-falls-on-man-in-se-dc/432133267

    Y’all stay safe!

    WT
    PS: Don’t like the new captcha

    1. Wayne, what don’t you like about the new captcha? Is it that laborious for you to click on the box to confirm you’re not a robot?

      This feature saves us a huge amount of time, and filters out about 99 percent of the spam comments. We receive about five times as many spam comments as legitimate comments.

  3. I mus’ be to stoopid. I had to repeat the procedure three times.

    But if it saves you time, I’m all for it. I shall endure–unless it’s a fault of the software . . .

    Egad, all that spam? I guess the spammers must have worked out a work-around on the old one.

    It was worse this time . . . Machines against humans; it’s a real nightmare.

  4. Here’s links to the Osborn Panoramic photos taken from the Black Mountain Lookout tree crow’s nest in 1936.
    Looking Southwest http://iamwho.com/cdv2/eastOr/ochoco/ocho030/a.jpg
    Looking north http://iamwho.com/cdv2/eastOr/ochoco/ocho030/b.jpg
    Looking southeast http://iamwho.com/cdv2/eastOr/ochoco/ocho030/c.jpg
    More info about the Osborn Panoramic photos and the camera used at John Marshals Wildland Northwest web site.
    https://www.wildlandnw.net/articles#/the-osborne-panoramas

  5. Bill, my links got kind of run together in my last post. If this one doesn’t work can you fix it?

    Looking southwest
    http://iamwho.com/cdv2/eastOr/ochoco/ocho030/a.jpg

    Looking north
    http://iamwho.com/cdv2/eastOr/ochoco/ocho030/b.jpg

    Looking southeast
    http://iamwho.com/cdv2/eastOr/ochoco/ocho030/c.jpg

    More info about the Osborn Panoramic photos and the camera used at John Marshals Wildland Northwest
    https://www.wildlandnw.net/articles#/the-osborne-panoramasLoading

    1. Those Osbourne Panoramas led me to a website that is now responsible for 3 hours of my time and well worth it. Thanks for posting those.

      1. Steve, have you found this one? “We climbed the Highest Mountains” by Albert Arnst. It goes into great detail on the panoramic photo project and how the photos were used. It was an amazing undertaking. I suspect 99 percent of people working for the USFS today have no idea what they are or how they were used.

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-EQyXiSYBLLNDhTTWNNSVR0NmM/view

        By the way, I worked on the Wind River Ranger District in the early 1970s when Paul Stenkamp was the Fire Staff Officer of the Gifford Pinchot.

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