Forest Service asks for public feedback on the Priscilla Peak Lookout project
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: May 5, 2020

PLAINS, Mont. – The Forest Service is seeking public comments on the Priscilla Lookout to Driveway Peak Project, which includes the relocation of a historic lookout building from Priscilla Peak to Driveway Peak. The proposal also includes restoring the Priscilla Peak Lookout structure and adding it to the cabin rental program on the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District on the Lolo National Forest.

The purpose of the project is to protect and preserve the historic Priscilla Peak Lookout building and provide an additional cabin rental opportunity for the public in the future.

The Priscilla Peak lookout is located about 11 miles northeast of Thompson Falls on Sundance Ridge. Built in 1929, the structure is a rare, 14-square foot cabin with a gable roof and cupola, one of only three in the Forest Service’s Northern Region and eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

In its current location, the lookout is difficult to access and requires a 6-mile hike with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain. The structure was on the cabin rental program during the 1990’s; however, it was only rented twice over the decade due to the remote location.

“We would like to restore this structure and move it to a location where it can continue to be used and enjoyed by the public,” said Erin Carey, Plains/Thompson Falls District Ranger. “In its current location, it is difficult to access and at-risk of falling into disrepair. By moving it, we can ensure routine upkeep, restoration and long-term access for the public.”

The new proposed location for the Priscilla Peak lookout is Driveway Peak, which is located approximately 11 miles west of Thompson Falls and accessed by National Forest System road (NFSR) 876, which is open yearlong to public motorized use. Because it is readily accessible, a lookout facility at this site would likely be a popular rental and continued maintenance would be feasible.

To move the lookout to from its current location to Driveway Peak, the building would need to be dismantled and moved in pieces via helicopter down to a road. The material would then be trucked to the Forest Service compound in Thompson Falls where the lookout would be reassembled and restored with the help of volunteers and partners. When completed, the building would be trucked to and installed on Driveway Peak. After installation, the lookout would be added to the lookout rental program. Future maintenance of the facility would be mostly funded by rental revenue.

Public comments specific to the project are valuable. Please mail comments by June 5, 2020 to:

Project Leader

Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District

P.O. Box 429

Plains, MT 59859

Comments may also be submitted electronically to: comments-northern-lolo-plains-thompsonfalls@usda.gov. For more information, please contact Heather Berman (406) 210-5287 or heather.berman@usda.gov or visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/lolo/landmanagement/projects.