Forest Fire Lookout

G. Scott suggests spending solitary time by yourself before committing to a life in a commune by taking the job of a forest fire lookout.

| July/August 1970

Forest fire lookout tower

Scott suggests one solution to facing yourself alone before going "back-to-the-land": the job of forest fire lookout.

Photo by Fotolia/Keller

Although the back-to-the-land movement means getting away from people and moving in with trees and grass, many potential nature lovers are terrorized by thoughts of the loneliness and isolation which may be experienced. It's a real love-hate relationship. We love nature, but we feel secure in the crowds of the big cities.

Communes are an answer. But if members of a commune are afraid to be alone, I feel this may break up the very commune they want to form.

May I suggest, as one solution to facing yourself alone, the job of forest fire lookout? True, you will be trapped on a mountain with primitive facilities, but you will also know that your time there is limited, and that you are in constant radio communication with other lookouts. You will also be living in the woods during the most pleasant part of the year and you will make a substantial sum of money because you can't spend any while you're there!

Here's how you make it happen: Write the U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. and request a list of all forests which need lookouts. The west coast has the largest need and the office for all west coast forests is in Portland, Oregon. I don't know the exact address but a letter should get to the proper place if you write U.S. Forest Service, Portland, Oregon.

After you get your list of forests, write to each one and request the name of each ranger station and the fire control officer in charge.

Now, fill out the miserable Civil Service Form No. 57 which you can get at your local post office (it's 4 pages!?) and write a personal letter (NOT a carbon copy) to the officer at every station that interests you.

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!