Flag Point Lookout No Longer Available for Winter Rental Due to Safety Concerns

Release Date: Jul 11, 2016

Sandy, OR - Earlier this month the Barlow Ranger District removed Flag Point Lookout from the rental program due to employee safety concerns related to re-occurring instances of vandalism that made it increasingly difficult to keep the facility open during the winter. “This was a difficult decision but the primary driver was the safety of employees and visitors.  In order to maintain the structure for use in the summer and as a functioning winter rental, too many staff trips were required to make repairs to the site during harsh winter conditions,” said Barlow Ranger District Ranger Kameron Sam.

The Flag Point lookout is a working fire detection facility in the summer months and has been available for recreation rental use in the winter through Recreation.gov.  In order to keep the facility functional for use as a rental, employees accessed the site via snowmobile and trailer and, during instances of high winds and heavy snowfall, this made travel difficult to impossible to make repairs in a timely manner.

Damage to the structure over the last few years included broken windows, damages to the main gas line, a damaged solar panel system, a damaged cook stove, and stolen furnishings and utensils. The hearth for the stove has been replaced four times, and the door was left open in one instance, letting snow inside the building which damaged the floor.

Flag Point remains an important part of the fire detection program. Complicating matters is the fact that these lookouts were originally designed for occupation during the summer months, and trying to operate them in the winter is very challenging.  Due to its remote location, the site requires more maintenance and suffers from harsher conditions when compared to our other lookout rental sites. 

Clear Lake and Five Mile Lookouts remain available for rental during the winter. Access to these sites is not as difficult, and they have not experienced the same level of vandalism. Five-mile Lookout is available year-round and both sites are available at Recreation.gov.

For information about these lookouts and other recreation opportunities please visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov/mthood.