PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Flag Point Lookout in the Mt. Hood National Forest is reopening after a seven-year shut down due to repeated vandalism, the U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday.
Winter and spring reservations for the lookout open on Oct. 25, followed by recreation rentals on Nov. 1.
Officials said the repeated vandalism led to safety concerns for employees and damaged the active fire lookout. Now, the recreation program has two seasonal winter rangers to help with site maintenance and monitoring.
“We’re pleased to add Flag Point Lookout back into our recreation rental program,” Barlow District Ranger Kameron Sam said.
The ranger warned that the historic lookout is about 10 miles from the parking area, so visitors should come prepared — highlighting the Forest Service’s list of 10 essentials for pack-in, pack-out backpacking.
Officials said the opening also marks the return of a key landmark for fire detection — noting the U.S. Forest Service uses the lookout tower to detect fires.
“A fire lookout employee staffs this tower every summer, beginning in June,” Sam explained. “We’re asking all visitors to please respect the facility so it can be used for years to come and continue to reduce the risk of large wildfires.”
Flag Point Lookout reservations are available for $50 per night, with up to seven-day stays, officials said.
The Forest Service noted that reservations fill up quickly and they plan to make bookings available November through December on a six-month rolling basis in the future.