Pack mules provided the only access to this site in 1932, when U.S. Forest Service personnel constructed the Double Arrow Lookout. Built following the L-4 plan designed by Clyde Fickes, the structure overlooks the Clearwater River drainage from atop a twenty-foot tower. Fickes’ detailed plans specified pre-cut and labeled lumber, so employees with limited carpentry skills could assemble the structures. Notable design elements include a three-foot catwalk, ribbons of nine-light windows (providing a 360-degree view), and a pyramidal hipped roof. Hipped roofs used shorter lengths of lumber than gable roofs, making it easier to transport material to the site by pack train. The fourteen-by-fourteen-foot structure doubled as living quarters for the lookout man stationed here during fire season. This is one of the first L-4 style lookouts built after Region 1, which included all of the forests in Montana and Northern Idaho, approved Fickes’ design in 1931. After World War II, Region 1 increasingly abandoned “fixed detection points” (lookouts) for “aerial detection” (airplanes and helicopters), and the number of lookouts dropped from 844 in 1945 to 272 in 1954. The Forest Service continued to staff lookouts with views of high value lands that suffered frequent fires; the Double Arrow Lookout remained in use at least until 1967 and likely into the 1980s. Once it was no longer needed as part of the Lolo National Forest’s ground detection network, the structure was abandoned and began to deteriorate. Crews restored the lookout in 2006 to become part of the Forest Service’s cabin rental program.

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Near Seeley Lake, Lolo National Forest, Montana ~ Public