I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. (J.R.R.Tolkien, The Two Towers)

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

Marko Kloos "Why the Gun is Civilization"

Friday, November 02, 2007

Arsonists destroy High Knob tower



Published 10/31/2007 By Stephen Igo

Firefighters could do nothing but watch early Wednesday as the last of the High Knob Observation Tower’s wooden decking burns. Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

HIGH KNOB — A Wise County landmark was destroyed Wednesday in what firefighters are calling a Halloween arson incident.

The Jefferson National Forest’s High Knob Observation Tower went up in flames early Wednesday, leaving U.S. Forest Service authorities and everyone else scratching their heads over the senselessness of the incident. Arsonists also destroyed a restroom at the Clinch Ranger District at the Hanging Rock Picnic Area in Scott County. Clinch District Ranger Ron Bush said the restroom fire was reported roughly a half hour after local fire departments and USFS personnel had arrived at the tower site above Norton.

USFS wildlife biologist Lois Boggs said the late great tower was probably built in the 1960s or early 1970s. It was originally a fire watch tower, then transformed into a tourist observation tower. The history of a lookout structure of some sort goes back to at least the 1930s.

The two-story structure built 40 to 50 years ago featured an attractive solid stone bottom with a wood upper story. The most serious vandalism on the structure to this point was the annoying habit of many visitors to carve their initials or proclamations of love into the woodwork.

“In the ’90s we re-decked it, put in new steps and a new roof,” she said. “At one point when it was still used as an observation tower for fires, we had it open to the public. There were maps and windows and all that. We still occasionally come up here, even though (airplanes are now used to spot forest fires) to look over the district and see if there are any smokes or anything going on. Of course, that’s all gone for everyone now.”

Volunteer fire departments from Norton and Coeburn were among the responding firefighter units sent to no avail, Bush said.

Click on the title for the full story...

You know what...there just ain't no cure for stupidity.

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At 3:03 PM, Blogger CG said...

finally, I can leave a comment!

I was SO saddened when I heard about this. Please follow-up on the efforts to re-build. Surely Job Corps labor can be used. Even I would donate because I love that tower. Wish I had gone on up the last time I went to Benje's Rock.

And they should hang whoever did it by their toenails from the new structure. Along with the idiot who burned the hay bales in Washington County. Idiots. The gene pool needs weeding.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger H. Stallard said...

It's been a couple of years since I was at the tower itself. The last time I was there, I collected a handful of hairs from underneath one of the lower steps where a bear had scratched his back.

The ones who did it are probably still laughing about it...that is if they were sober enough to even remember doing it.

Weeding the gene pool a pretty good idea since there's not a cure for stupidity yet.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger CG said...

Talk of rebuilding? Since I can't actually read the Coalfield, you'll have to keep me informed.


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