Some Fire Tower History
The Stissing Fire Tower is located in the Town of Pine Plains, NY near the summit
of Stissing Mountain, elevation 1402 feet. This ninety foot steel tower
was originally constructed as a Civilian Conservation Corps project in 1934 for fire spotting purposes. The Tower provides vistas east to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont; Southwest to Pennsylvania
and New Jersey; and North to the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
Tower was last used for fire spotting in 1973. The ranger’s cabin, located approximately 200 feet to the north, burned
in 1976. New York State announced in 1986 that the Tower was no
longer needed and would be removed. Concerned citizens formed FOSL in 1986
to take over responsibility for the Tower and keep it open for the public. In 1994, the Tower was turned over to FOSL, which
maintains the structure today. Hikers are welcome to access the Tower
at their own risk and at no cost. We do encourage all users to send donations
to assist in the maintenance of the Tower.
and the Surrounding Area
Stissing Mountain is an unusual outcrop of gneiss over one billion years old which was lifted through
and on top of younger geological formations. The mountain was clear-cut for charcoal production in the mid 1800’s and
was used primarily for firewood supplies until the early 1900’s. It is broken into approximately 40 parcels with several
large and small owners. The State has acquired over 300 acres including the Stissing Mountain Multiple Use Area off Hicks
Hill Road where the west trailhead is located.
The mountain and surrounding area is the subject of a permanent display in the Museum of Natural History
in NYC. The Nature Conservancy has acquired a 300 acre holding on the east side of the Mountain around Thompson Pond, a glacial
kettle. This preserve has been designated a National Natural Landmark. Stissing Lake, also on the east
side, is slightly north. Stissing Lake is a glacial lake with a depth of approximately 35 feet in its deepest areas. These
lakes, ponds, and adjoining wetlands are home and stopover points to a large variety of wildlife, including eagles.