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HistoriCorps Volunteers Rehabilitate Mount Harkness Fire Lookout

Posted September 30, 2019

Lassen Volcanic National Park is partnering with HistoriCorps to improve the condition of the historic Mount Harkness Fire Lookout.

HistoriCorps volunteers are camping at Juniper Lake and hiking nearly four miles to and from the lookout each day. The first crew will work alongside expert field staff to remove and repoint failing mortar, replace deteriorated boards on the catwalk, and repair window trim and door frames. A second group of youth volunteers with American Conservation Experience (ACE) will work with HistoriCorps staff to give the lookout a fresh coat of paint.

Perched atop Mt. Harkness in the southeast corner of the park, the tower has served as an active fire lookout and visitor destination since its construction in 1930. The two-story stone and wood structure is a model of National Park Service rustic architecture and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

Partners and volunteers play a crucial role in the lookout’s maintenance. The structure is located within Lassen Volcanic Wilderness and accessible only by trail. In order to address its remote location and preserve Wilderness values, work must be completed in the short summer season and with equipment and materials transported primarily by foot.

This is the first HistoriCorps project within the park. However, the organization has completed 231 projects involving more than 150,000 volunteer hours across the nation. To learn more about Mount Harkness Fire Lookout and the rehabilitation project visit

Visitors are welcome to tour the lookout while staffed through mid-October. Access may temporarily limited by rehabilitation work through September 27. The shortest and most popular trail to the lookout climbs 1.9 miles and 1,250 feet from Juniper Lake Campground. The Juniper Lake Area is accessed via a 13-mile paved/gravel road out of Chester, CA. The last six miles is rough dirt road and is not suitable for buses, motorhomes, or trailers. To learn more about the Mt. Harkness Trail visit

For more information about Lassen Volcanic National Park, please visit; contact the park at (530) 595-4480 or; find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube @LassenNPS.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube @nationalparkservice. #FindYourPark

About HistoriCorps. HistoriCorps, founded in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides volunteers of all skill levels with a hands-on experience preserving historic structures for public benefit across America. Volunteers work with HistoriCorps’ seasoned professionals to learn preservation skills and put those skills to work saving historic places. HistoriCorps works to ensure America’s cultural and historical resources will be enjoyed by generations to come.

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