A committee of Stone County Quorum Court members met Friday with Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, prison warden Stephen Williams of the North Central Unit in Calico Rock, and members of the community at Sugarloaf Fire Tower to discuss the county’s role in preserving the site and restoring it to the point it could be made available to the public.
County officials are considering entering into a long-term agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that would allow the county to take action regarding the tower and other buildings, which were constructed by the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1937.
The site is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It is located just south of Calico Rock off Highway 5.
In addition to a 100-foot fire watch tower, the two-acre mountaintop includes a residence/office structure, cellar, and outhouse. County Judge Stacey Avey told the group there are opportunities for educational activities as well as tourism while at the same time preserving the historically significant site. However, there are many factors to consider in developing a plan for its use, including providing water and restrooms, and widening the road or at least creating pull-outs to allow passing. Additionally, there is the question of how the site will be manned while it is open to the public.
Justices of the peace suggested groups such as 4-H, Scouts, school organizations and others might take day trips or camp-outs on the mountain. Observation decks could be constructed with maps showing the sites and geographical features visible in each direction.
“We’ve got an opportunity,” said JP Stan Townsend. “We just have to take it.”
See the complete story in the March 1, 2017 issue.