In 1918 the Mt. Arab fire tower was born. Fire towers around the Adirondacks were used to spot forest fires, and during war time, observers were required to report any airplanes they saw or heard to the military information centers. Radio communications were established between each of the 57 fire towers in the Adirondacks which resulted in more efficient firefighting efforts.
During the years 1944-1949, over 21 fires were reported from the tower on Mt. Arab. It wasn't until 1952 that the stewards on the mountain started noticing an increase in visitors to the mountain. In 1952, there was over 1,100 visitors. In 1998, over 2,200 people visited the mountain in a three month period. To this day, Mt. Arab is one of the most popular hikes in the Tupper Lake area. Being a part of the Tupper Lake Triad with Coney Mountain and Goodman Mountain, it has seen a huge increase in hikers in recent years.
In 1999, the fire tower on Mt. Arab was fully restored. It is not used for spotting fires anymore, but has turned into a draw for hikers and travelers all over. If you hike to the top of all the fire towers in the Adirondacks you will have completed the fire tower challenge. The fire tower on Mt. Arab provides one of the best 360-degree views of the High Peaks region for the short 1-mile hike up. Also at the top of the mountain is the ranger cabin, where the steward would spend the night many years back. It has now been turned into a small museum featuring history about the mountain.
When you get to the top of the mountain there is a good chance you will run into Tom Cullen with his two friendly dogs. He is the steward on Mt. Arab and always greets visitors with a smile. He is full of knowledge about the mountain and the area, and he will take you into the ranger cabin to show you the museum. Just like the fire tower is iconic, so is Tom Cullen and his two kind dogs.
100 year celebration -- celebrate with us!
Celebrate the Centennial at the trailhead or atop the mountain on Saturday, August 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friends of Mt. Arab Board Members will be at the trailhead. It is a short trip to the summit, just 1-mile each way, and the ascent is very family-friendly. The Mt. Arab Fire tower is the only one still standing in St. Lawrence County. Memorabilia and other goodies will be available at the trailhead, we look forward to seeing you there!
How to get there from town:
From the intersection of Route 3 and Route 30 in the village of Tupper Lake, follow Route 3 toward Piercefield. In about 7.25 miles, turn left on Conifer Road and follow it for almost 2 miles to Mount Arab Road, which will be on the left. Follow that road for about 1 mile. The trailhead is on the left; parking is on the right.
If you are in the area for the Mt. Arab Centennial Celebration, continue on and hike Coney Mountain and Goodman Mountain to earn your Tupper Lake Triad patch! Simply mail in the form and $5 per person -- you can even get one for your four legged friend.
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