Cedar River Watershed newsletter, Issue 40
Discover Learn Connect
Connecting people to the source of Seattle's drinking water, inspiring confidence, stewardship and sustainability.
Questions? Comments? Contact Cedar River Watershed Education Center
or (206) 733-9421

Fire Lookouts on the Mountain and Smoke in the Valley

Fire Lookouts on the Mountain and Smoke in the Valley

The 40 foot tall Cedar Point fire tower was built in 1931. Its strategic vantage point at 2,175 foot provided a 360-degree territorial view for easy detection of smoke and fire

An important chapter in the City of Seattle’s acquisition, protection, and restoration of the Cedar River Watershed occurred between 1910 and 1935. At that time the City owned less than half of the watershed’s 91,000 acres. Meanwhile, two company towns, Taylor and Barneston, and over six railroad logging outfits were extracting clay, coal, and timber from the land. The City’s stewards sought strict water-quality controls, including rapid forest fire detection, with a long-term strategy to purchase land for forest and water protection.

In the early 1930s, the City built forest access roads across the landscape to erected fire lookouts, weather stations, and streamflow measurement sites. This diligent monitoring of daily weather conditions and observations of commercial operations helped to predict, prevent, and suppress forest fires for decades.

By 1935, the City had established two primary fire lookouts at Cedar Point and Little Mountain. During the fire season, forest guards stationed at the lookouts had the daily task of recording weather data, noting railroad activities, and reporting locations of ground smoke and lightning strikes to the first Watershed Headquarters at Walsh Lake.

Learn more about this era in our program, Logging Towns and Fire Lookouts >

Did You Know?


Join Eunice Kim at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center to make your own nature-inspired art!

Nature has inspired art since humans have walked the earth. There is an inextricable link between us and the life-sustaining natural world that can be celebrated through artistic expression. Experience this everlasting connection at Nontoxic Printmaking, offered the last two weekends in April! .

Breaking News

Lookouts & Logging Towns
April 15
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Nontoxic Printmaking
April 21, 22, 28, & 29
11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Drop-in event, no registration needed

Lichens: Mysterious Fungi of the Forest
May 6
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Mother’s Day
May 13
10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Drop-in event, no registration needed

Spring Comes to the Watershed
June 9
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Browse & register for programs >

Are you interested in a topic or have an idea for an article?

Get in Touch >

Visit Us

Education Center

17905 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045

April thru October
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00am - 5:00pm

November thru March
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00am - 4:00pm

Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area

19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045
All Year
6:00am – Dusk

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Cedar River Watershed  email   |  (206) 733-9421  |  (425) 831-6780