The Argentine Rock Forest Fire Lookout Repair Group reports that it has a big project scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30, and it is putting out a call for volunteers. Members are replacing the stairs that access the lookout, as a first step in the overall restoration process, and they need help hauling sacks of concrete to the construction site, among other tasks.
Argentine Rock Lookout has been a Plumas County icon since its construction in 1938, perched as it is above Quincy and American Valley on Grizzly Ridge. But it has fallen into disrepair since it was abandoned by the Forest Service in 1980. Two years ago the effort to repair the lookout was begun, and now the repair group is poised to begin major repairs. Road repairs will soon be conducted to improve access, and the old stone stairs leading up to the lookout are being replaced with steel stairs. The group reports that other repairs will follow as members are able.
The present project presents certain difficulties. “Hauling 112 sacks of concrete up 300 feet of stairs is more than our dozen or so volunteers can do,” said Jeff Greef, chairman of the group. “We need 30 or more people, each person or pair of people hauling just one bag at a time, to get the job done.”
The group plans to have an all-day event at the lookout Sept. 30, during which volunteers from the public will be given what is needed to accomplish the task. “You get one piece of pizza for each bag you successfully transport up the hill,” said Greef, with a wry smile.
The effort to restore Argentine was initiated by the Forest Fire Lookout Association, a national group that encourages and supports repair and maintenance of lookouts across the country. A local volunteer group was created to include Plumas County residents, and anyone can join. The group received a resource advisory committee grant from the Forest Service last year; Greef reports that the money is being used for basic access repairs such as road repair and safe stair cases. Once these are in place, the group will begin repairs on the lookout itself.
The group recently completed repairs on the old Mount Ingalls Lookout building, which is now located at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. Visitors to the Plumas-Sierra County Fair may have noticed the painted and repaired lookout. It was moved to the fairgrounds from Mount Ingalls about 20 years ago.
When finished, the intended use of the Argentine Lookout will be two-fold, says Greef. It may be used as a fire lookout again during peak season, and it will also be used as an overnight rental, operated by the Forest Service and available to the public. The Forest Service operates several such rental lookouts, including the Plumas National Forest’s Black Mountain Lookout near Milford and the Calpine Lookout on the Tahoe National Forest near Truckee.
Volunteers can contact Jeff Greef at (530) 616-9031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information submitted by Argentine Rock Forest Fire Lookout Repair Group