Key Committee Advances Bill to Save Green Mountain Lookout

Bill backed by Northwest Washington delegation would preserve historic lookout for hikers and visitors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee voted to advance a bill from Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to preserve the historic Green Mountain Lookout in the Glacier Peak Wilderness near Darrington, Washington. Senator Cantwell, a member of the ENR Committee, voted in support of the bill – which passed the committee by a voice vote.

The Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act (S. 404) now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Senators Murray and Cantwell introduced the Green Mountain bill on February 28, 2013. U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced companion legislation (H.R. 908) in the House.

“I’m proud to have voted today to advance this bill to allow future generations to enjoy the historic Green Mountain Lookout,” Cantwell said. “For 80 years, this scenic lookout has stood atop Green Mountain. Our bill would keep the Green Mountain Lookout where it belongs, for Northwest hikers, historians and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. I will keep working with Senator Murray and Representatives DelBene and Larsen to pass this bill into law.”

“Green Mountain Lookout is an important part of our state’s history, and it’s cherished by the local community,” Murray said. “I am so pleased this legislation is moving to the full Senate for a vote, and I will continue working to preserve the lookout for future generations.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Senators Cantwell and Murray, today we are one step closer to saving the historic Green Mountain Lookout,” DelBene said. “It’s time for the House to move forward on the companion legislation and allow a floor vote so we can protect this iconic landmark once and for all.”

“The Green Mountain Lookout belongs in one spot: on Green Mountain,” Larsen said. “I applaud Sen. Cantwell’s work to advance this important bill in the Senate, and I look forward to working with Rep. DelBene to get this law passed in 2014.”

The need for the legislation arose after a Montana-based group sued the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for using a helicopter and machinery to repair the Green Mountain Lookout. Subsequently in 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ordered that the USFS needed to move forward with the lookout’s removal.

During World War II the Green Mountain Lookout, located in the Glacier Peak Wilderness within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, served as an early warning station to detect enemy aircraft. Today it is one of only 16 remaining fire lookouts originally managed by the USFS in Northwest Washington.

The introduction of the bill followed an unsuccessful legal challenge to the District Court’s decision.  Senators and Representatives from Washington had sent a letter in May 2012 to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, urging the department to use all legal means necessary to preserve the Green Mountain Lookout’s location in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.