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Washington State Fire Lookout Project with Kyle Johnson

July 23, 2013
Filed in: Conservation, Depth In The Field, Travel

Filson_LookoutProject-02350009Kyle Johnson is a 29 year old editorial and commercial photographer hailing from the Pacific Northwest. He strives to create images that are intriguing and classically executed. Kyle’s aesthetic pairs textured natural settings with a distinct photographic perspective. This project is an exploration of the 92 lookout towers that remain standing in Washington State. Shot entirely with medium format film, Kyle has set out to capture the experience of hiking to these lingering giants, as well as documenting the scenic views and people he meets along the way.

In the late 1930s to mid 1940s, the United States scrambled to build as many Fire Lookout towers as possible to protect against a growing number of wildfires. Washington State alone had over 600 in use during this time. Lookout Rangers worked this special summer job, acting as a lifeline for the forest and helping to protect what so many people take for granted.

Sadly, in the last few decades many of these historic lookout towers have been abandoned, destroyed or vandalized.

In Washington, only a few are still manned by Forest Service Rangers. Still, during the summer months, many are still accessible and make for some of the most rewarding hiking destinations the Northwest has to offer.

Some of the lookout towers featured in the following images include Sun Top Lookout, Kelly Butte Lookout, Red Top Lookout, Granite Lookout, and Mt. Constitution.Filson_LookoutProject-01590004Filson_LookoutProject-01590006Filson_LookoutProject-01590013Filson_LookoutProject-01580015



  • I have explored 7 of the wa lookouts this past summer and did some repairs have pics

    Posted by andrew mitchell | October 12, 2013 at 7:22 am
  • I was a employed as a seasonal fire fighter on the skykomish ranger district right out of high school the summer of 1969. i spent some time as the lookout on the evergreen mtn LO located north of skykomish on what was then the snoqualmie National forest. do you have any pictures of this lookout?

    Posted by Bill fish | November 11, 2013 at 8:26 am

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