Bob Marshall Wilderness 2016

Forest Fire Lookout Association – Mud Lake Fire Lookout

The Northwest Montana Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association received a Montana History Foundation grant to restore the Mud Lake Lookout in the Flathead National Forest. In the early 20th century, fire lookouts were an essential part of natural disaster response in Montana. In the 1940s, there were more than thirty lookout points and towers used in the Bob Marshall Wilderness; however, only a handful remain now. Although far fewer in number, lookouts are still used in firefighting today and continue to be an important part of Montana’s forest landscape and culture.

The Mud Lake Lookout was established in 1921 with the original gabled-roof design (instead of the later hipped roofs.) The lookout is described as the only remaining “original” lookout left in the Bob Marshall. MHF funds were used to remove windows and x-bracing walls, re-glaze for repainting, reinforce the walls to support window headers, raise and rebuild the rock-pads that support the sills, level the lookout, and replace the sill plate, square/plumb the structure, rebuild the west wall, and reinstall the windows.