AUGUSTA, Maine — After several years of planning with state and nonprofit organizations, the historic Big Moose Mountain Fire Tower now rests in a safe place.

On Oct. 11 the tower was airlifted off the mountain by the Maine Forest Service and placed in the Natural Resources Education Center in the shadow of Moose Mountain on Route 15, just south of Greenville.

The original fire tower, which was erected in 1905, was one of the first forest fire detection towers in the country. Over the years, the harsh Maine winters and several lightning strikes deteriorated the steel towers and cab that replaced the original wood tower.

Maine’s entire fire detection tower system was discontinued in 1991 in favor of contracted air detection flights that were more efficient and are still in use today.

During the last five years, various options were considered for refurbishing the fire tower. In 2010, the MFS agreed to dismantle and transport the tower to the NREC site so the public could enjoy the tower safely. The weathered tower and cab will need to be reconstructed to meet safety standards before it will be open to the public. The Forest Fire Lookout Association and NREC will coordinate the efforts to rebuild the tower in its new location.

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