Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Mobility disabled access to Suntop lookout-- a first in the US
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hearingjd
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hearingjd
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PostSat Aug 26, 2023 7:39 pm 
A bunch of us have been thinking about how to extend the outdoor experience to people with mobility issues for a while. Suntop lookout is hugely popular, but has always been outside the envelope for most people with disabilities due to a rocky trail and steps up to the lookout. So a few years ago some USFS folks and yours truly started to thinking about what it would take to make a fire lookout like Suntop accessible-- or at least barrier free. Suntop is a great candidate in that it is a drive-to lookout and is a ground house-- not a huge number of steps. We built a plan and started selling it to the USFS-- modifying Suntop (an L-4 lookout) to be similar to other L-4 lookouts by adding a deck around it; adding an ADA-standards trail up to the lookout level; and adding an ADA-standards ramp to connect the two. It took some doing but we managed to sell USFS leaders, the state Historic Preservation Office, and the state RCO grant group and got approvals to proceed. 2020 messed us up, but in 2021 an Eagle Scout led a project to build a barrier-free trail from the parking to the lookout area (it still has tamped gravel-- we need to fix that); In 2022 we prepared and poured or rock-drilled 68 support points around the lookout to hold uprights to support the deck; and on July 5th we kicked off the construction of the deck and ramp; Took only 6 days to build out the deck, then we had to hold for more materials and inspections by USFS, but finally got approval to continued. Today we finished the ramp and put in a temporary link to the trail. While it's not ready for a wheelchair quite yet, I'm very proud of what a bunch of dedicated people can do to make the outdoors just a little bit more accessible for folks with challenges.

Hiker John

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jinx'sboy
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PostSat Aug 26, 2023 8:00 pm 
Well done! Thank you!

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lookout bob
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005
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Location: wta work while in between lookouts
lookout bob
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PostWed Aug 30, 2023 6:45 am 
John....I'd like to thank you and Valerie and Mary for your awesome work at Sun Top. You folks managed the bureaucracy of the Forest Service and got this very important work done at the lookout. Your improvements there, at Kelly Butte and at Granite are awesome and will help the lookouts remain far into the future as great places for folks to visit and spot fires and support lookouts in general. Your work on the trails around 410 is noteworthy too. Thanks so much for all you do! up.gif up.gif up.gif up.gif up.gif cool.gif

"Altitude is its own reward" John Jerome ( from "On Mountains")

dave allyn, jaysway, hearingjd, runup
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hearingjd
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hearingjd
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PostMon Sep 04, 2023 10:09 am 
Thanks Bob, I'm only modeling you and all that you do!!

Hiker John
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jaysway
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PostTue Sep 12, 2023 9:14 pm 
This is amazing hearingjd, thank you.

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