THE HAGUE — Warren County has opened a new hiking trail on Swede Mountain in The Hague that leads to a 47-foot-tall fire tower.
The tower is approximately 11 miles east of the hamlet of Brant Lake and 5.5 miles west of the hamlet of Hague. Warren County owns the fire tower and the land surrounding it. The county has an agreement with a landowner for a trail to cross private property to get to the top.
A portion of the private land is leased by a hunting club, so the trail and tower will be closed and inaccessible each year from September 10 to December 16.
The tower was decommissioned by the state in 1968 and purchased by the county to house radio communications equipment. But the communication plan was reconfigured and the site was not used.
Crews from the Warren County Parks and Recreation and Public Works Departments renovated the tower this spring and summer and cut a trail from Route 8, starting at North Pond. Teams had to deal with frequent rain and deep mud, which made it difficult to get equipment to the site.
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Almost the entire wooden staircase and floor of the tower had to be replaced.
“We are very proud of how this project has turned out. It involved a lot of work in difficult circumstances,” Public Works Commissioner Kevin Hajos said in a press release.
New York State’s Lyme Timber Co. and volunteers helped refine the trail.
A National Highway rest area at the trailhead provides parking for approximately 15 vehicles.
The trail is a 1.8 mile round trip, with approximately 240 feet of elevation gain. Other than a creek crossing and a steep dirt embankment at the start of the hike, most of the trail is a gradual climb.
The Hague supervisor Edna Frasier said she was delighted with the reopening of the tower, which was an attraction years ago.
“For me, it tends to be nostalgic. The memories I have of my siblings climbing up the tower, climbing the tower and exploring the area are still vivid. It’s exciting to know that others can now experience it,” Frasier said in a press release.
For more information on this trail and other recreation opportunities in Warren County, visit the Warren County Rec Mapper website at warrencountyny.gov/recmapper. Swede Mountain is trail #55 on the Rec Mapper site. Adirondack Mountain Club plans to add this hike to their “ADK Fire Tower Challenge”.
Michael Goot covers politics, crime and courts, Warren County, education and business. Contact him at 518-742-3320 or [email protected]