Rogue River National Forest / Winema National Forest 35S-6E-2O
May 15, 1934: "A 15-foot steel tower is being erected this week on Pelican Butte in the Rocky Point district by Elmer Rowden, fire guard, and an assistant. Panorama pictures for this station will be taken from this tower and at a later date a 90-foot tower will be constructed for a lookout station. A road to the summit of Pelican Butte was practically completed by members of the CCC camp, located last season at Lake o’ the Woods." (The Evening Herald)
May 21, 1934: Panorama photos were taken by Robert Snyder and James Rittenhouse using the 15-foot tower built for this purpose.
May 22, 1934: "With the occupation of Pelican Butte lookout station today, field work on an intensive photographic project will be completed on the Rogue River National Forest, according to local forest service officials." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 29, 1934: "Norman C. White, assistant supervisor of the Rogue River National forest service, and Hugh Ritter, ranger, left this morning for Pelican Butte, to inspect a site for establishing a Pelican Butte lookout station." (Medford Mail Tribune)
July 16, 1934: "The steepest part of the ascent up the mountain starts on a road that turns right before reaching Cold Spring. From there it is steady, low-gear climbing for approximately four miles to where the road ends about half a mile from the summit. However, the road is to be completed to the top where a fire lookout station, now under construction, will be completed within the next two weeks." (The Evening Herald)
July 7, 1941: "An earth tremor was felt at 7:30 last night by Gerald Hansen, stationed at the Seven-Mile lake guard station two miles west of Fort Klamath, and Willard Larson, lookout at Pelican Butte, near Rocky Point and 20 miles south of the guard station, Rogue River National Forest headquarters today said the men had reported. Hansen was quoted as saying the shock was severe enough to shake his house and rattle dishes. Larson said the tremor was less intense at his place, though it rattled dishes. Headquarters said both men were sure it was not an explosion that caused the quaking as they heard no sound." (Medford Mail Tribune)
July 1, 1948: "Another attempt was made Thursday to reach Pelican butte to open the lookout post there. Snow on the roads has delayed the opening of this vantage point and is still is plentiful on the roads. Fire danger near the lookout post is naturally no consideration, but a view of surrounding forest lands where the snow has melted and the timber is drying out may be had for miles from this point." (Herald and News)
July 8, 1948: "There is still no lookout on Pelican butte and that position is open to a man and wife with a car. Anyone interested in this type of seasonal employment should see Charles Sullaway, clerk in the U.S. forestry office in the post office building, Klamath Falls." (Herald and News)
June 30, 1949: "Fire lookout stations on the Klamath district of the Rogue River National Forest were manned this week and inter-communication established between them – 10 days ahead of last year’s schedule. Snow had to be cleared to the Pelican Butte station before it could be operated, with a D-7 cat used to punch the roads through. Mr. and Mrs. Chet Randall will man this top of the world, 14x14 foot fire detection and communication point. In addition to keeping the automatic radio on frequency they will watch for smokes in their area." (Herald and News)
1951: Dan and Zoe Montague, a newly married couple spent their honeymoon staffing the lookout.
July 11, 1952: "A new FM radio setup is slated to go into operation on the Klamath District of the Rogue River National Forest in the near future. District Ranger Robert Cooper’s office reported today, the new setup will provide increased efficiency in communication throughout the forest. The Pelican Butte Lookout, to be manned this year by Mr. and Mrs. Francis Gaines, Gainesville, Florida is still snowbound. The lookouts are slated to move into the mountain-top tower early next week. A walk of three miles through snow drifts is necessary to reach the lookout." (Herald and News)
July 16, 1952: "Verus Dahlin, Forest Service fire control officer, reported Wednesday that all lookout stations in the Rogue Valley area are now in operation, except the Pelican Butte and Devil's Peak lookouts. Dahlin said that heavy snow drifts surrounded these two lookouts, but that workers were manning the one at Pelican Butte this week by packing in provisions two miles." (Medford Mail Tribune)
August 14, 1952: "The road into Pelican Butte is now open to travel. District Ranger Bob Cooper announced today. Though it’s mid-August, lookout Francis Gaines had to shovel through four-foot drifts to open the road up. The lookout is one of the highest in this part of the country, perched atop 8000-foot Pelican Butte." (Herald and News)
1954: A 20-foot treated timber tower with an L-4 cab was constructed.
August 7, 1972: "According to Terry Mewhinney, the Pacific Northwest Bell unit was removed in the fall of 1971. The unit is not needed, and will not be reinstalled. There are no plans for future needs of this type of installation at Pelican Butte Lookout. I visited the permit area, and found only a few insulators left on trees next to the road to the lookout." (Memo to Files from Supervisory Forester)
October 9, 1980: "There’s a new forest lookout tower and electronics communications system Facility high atop 8,036-foot Pelican Butte in the southern Oregon Cascades west of Klamath Falls. And according to Winema National Forest officials, it’s unique, The combined tower-communications building was constructed by private enterprise on land leased from the Forest Service with that agency leasing back the lookout tower portion. Ray Frost, resource assistant for the Winema’s Klamath Ranger District, says that’s considered a first for the forest service, at least in Region 6 which includes Oregon and Washington. It took months to weave through the bureaucratic red tape involved, but the end result will be: * Replacement of an existing 35 to 40 year-old lookout tower, “probably cheaper and sooner” than possible under ordinary procedures; and * An electronic site that will serve present and potential future needs for inter-city communication links between Klamath Falls, Medford, Bend and other urban areas as well as for omni- or multi-directional radio coverage. According to Frost, interest in the project has been evinced from a number of sources: * Sierra Cascade Communications Inc. requested use of Pelican Butte for a microwave repeater site to provide network programming to a new television station serving the Bend area. The site would be “one point in a five-hop intercity relay from Medford to Bend.” * Del-Tronics Co. of Klamath Falls requested use of the site for a mobile radio repeater to provide a communication network for an emergency telephone repair service with clients in Klamath Falls, Medford and Bend. Clients include Merle West Medical Center, St. Charles Hospital in Bend, Providence Hospital in Medford, forest products industries and other businesses, according to Frost. * The Federal Aviation Administration has indicated a need for 60-channel microwave links from Kingsley Field tower to Medford and to Swan Lake Point Electronic Site. The link to Swan Lake would tie into existing Bonneville Power Administration microwave network which covers much of the Northwest. Pelican Butte is considered as a central relay point for this communications system. * The General Services Administration is investigating the need for microwave repeater sites in South Central Oregon to replace existing systems, and has expressed an interest in using a facility on Pelican Butte. * The system also could aid the Forest Service in future voice and/or data transmission microwave links between forest headquarters and district offices, and to adjacent forests. “Remote sensing for fire detection and electronic weather data recording may also become feasible in the future,” according to Frost. After reviewing a number of alternatives, the decision was made to develop a joint lookout tower-electronics facility at the site of the old tower. The new 40-foot tower has 12 by 12 living quarters and lookout “cab” combined. Only the tubular and I-beam steel tower will show from the landscape; The 14 by 30-foot concrete electronics building and seven 1,000 – gallon propane tanks that will supply power through thermal electric generators will be completely covered with earth. Efforts to effect the electronics site on the mountain required hours and hours of planning and discussions since Pelican Butte is regarded as a “sensitive” area because of the continuing discussion about use of the mountain, located near Rocky Point, for a winter sports-ski development. There has been no active discussion of that possibility for some months, however, although the butte was allocated for such purposes in the Winema’s RARE II evaluation. Electronics firms are already preparing to move equipment in the concrete underground building, and come next summer, the Winema will station a lookout there for the season. The entire site is being returned to natural grade and Frost notes, “We only lost one shrub” during construction. The native mountain hemlock, western white fir and small plants which have proven immutable in the severe winter weather remain. … And it does get severe on the peak. According to Frost, one worker last winter descended from a helicopter “only to have his eyelashes freeze the minute he opened the door.” (Herald and News)
One-of-a-kind-design - 39-foot steel tower, uprights are 10x10 inch boxed iron 7' 10" on centers, all joints welded. Cab is 9' 6" square of steel and glass. the only wood is in the floor of the cab. A 6-foot wide expanded steel grate catwalk surrounds the cab.
The NGS Data Sheet
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1967 (CAA) STATION IS LOCATED ABOUT 29-1/2 MILES NORTHWEST OF KLAMATH FALLS, 15-1/2 MILES SOUTHWEST OF FORT KLAMATH, 14 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF CHILOQUIN AND IS ON THE HIGHEST POINT OF WHAT IS LOCALLY KNOWN AS PELICAN BUTTE.
TO REACH FROM THE COURT HOUSE IN KLAMATH FALLS, GO SOUTHWEST ON MAIN STREET FOR 0.35 MILE TO THE JUNCTION OF U.S. HIGHWAY 97 BYPASS, TURN RIGHT AND GO NORTH ON U.S. HIGHWAY 97 BYPASS AND STATE HIGHWAY 140 FOR 1.35 MILES TO STATE HIGHWAY 140 EXIT, BEAR RIGHT ON STATE HIGHWAY 140 AND PASSING UNDER U.S. HIGHWAY 97 FOR 0.65 MILES TO THE LINK RIVER BRIDGE, CONTINUE NORTHWEST ON STATE HIGHWAY 140 FOR 22.0 MILES TO A PAVED FORK (THIS IS ABOUT 1.0 MILE AFTER PASSING THE ODESSA STORE ON THE LEFT), KEEP LEFT FORK AND CONTINUE WEST ON STATE HIGHWAY 140 FOR 3.5 MILES TO A GRAVELED SIDE ROAD RIGHT AND CATTLEGUARD ON THE RIGHT, TURN RIGHT AND GO NORTH ON THE GRAVELED ROAD FOR 1.5 MILES TO A FORK, KEEP THE RIGHT FORK (LOST CREEK ROAD) AND GO NORTHEAST FOR 5.3 MILES TO THE JUNCTION OF ROAD 358, BEAR LEFT AND GO NORTH ON ROAD 358 FOR 2.5 MILES TO A SIDE ROAD RIGHT AND SIGN PELICAN BUTTE L. O. 4, TURN RIGHT AND GO EAST ON A BLADED, ROUGH ROAD, FOR 4.25 MILES TO A LARGE CLEARED AREA ON THE RIGHT AND THE AZIMUTH MARK ABOUT 100 YARDS SOUTH OF THE ROAD, CONTINUE EAST ON THE ROAD FOR 0.25 MILE TO THE LOOKOUT TOWER AND THE STATION.
STATION MARK IS A STANDARD DISK, STAMPED PELICAN 1967, SET IN THE TOP OF A 12-INCH CONCRETE POST WHICH PROJECTS ABOUT 4 INCHES. IT IS 12 FEET NORTH OF A FOOT PATH, 39 FEET EAST-SOUTHEAST OF THE SOUTHEAST LEG OF THE LOOKOUT TOWER AND 6 FEET SOUTH OF A FOOT PATH.