Be First to Spend the Night in the Seneca State Forest Fire Tower in West Virginia

Be First to Spend the Night in the Seneca State Forest Fire Tower in West Virginia
Be First to Spend the Night in the Seneca State Forest Fire Tower in West Virginia
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

West Virginia -( The winner of a contest sponsored by the West Virginia State Parks system will get to spend the first night in the newly refurbished Thorny Mountain Fire Tower in Seneca State Forest.

The tower, built in 1935, includes a platform 53 feet above the top of a 3,445-foot mountain peak, providing a panoramic view of much of Pocahontas County and the Greenbrier River Valley. After the West Virginia Division of Forestry transferred the inactive fire tower to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources a few years ago, state parks staff began refurbishing it to turn it into an out-of-the-way rustic retreat.

The contest winner and up to three guests will be the first to stay overnight in the tower Saturday, June 20, 2015, which is West Virginia Day, or they may elect to stay at a later date as available. After that, the tower will be open to the public for rental during the summer season. No purchase is necessary to enter the contest and contact information will be kept confidential.

To enter the contest, go online to and fill out the simple form. All entries will be given to an independent group which will use a computer program for a random name selection. The winner will be contacted via email June 15, 2015 at 11 a.m. The winner’s name and state will be posted on the same day by 4 p.m. on the Seneca State Forest website home page at .

The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower is reservable for overnight stays during the summer season. Accommodations in the tower cabin include two cots, firewood, a picnic table, grill, fire ring and pit toilet at the tower base. The cabin features lighting powered by a solar battery storage system.

            “We think guests will really enjoy this different take on rustic camping,” said West Virginia State Parks Chief Sam England. “The tent will have hard walls instead of canvas, and you can’t beat the view. It’s a good opportunity to get away for a while and enjoy the beauty of this part of the state from an unusual perspective.”

About the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower

The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower was constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide better coverage of the Greenbrier River Valley. It is a steel tower standing at 53 feet with a 14′ x14 ‘ living quarters. It is a unique tower for West Virginia in that it is the only one patterned after western types that utilize the living quarters and catwalk on the platform.  At 3,445 feet above sea level, the Thorny Mountain tower is one of the highest-standing towers in West Virginia today. There are 69 steps from the base up to the overnight quarters. It is located at latitude: 38.31306 and longitude: 79.94611.

The view from the tower is spectacular. The 360-degree view now is possible due to the clearing of mature trees that over the years had blocked the view. Combustibles of any type are not permitted in the tower cabin. The steps from the ground to the cabin were replaced with treated oak in the same size as the original wooden steps. The decking at the cabin was replaced with treated pine to lighten the weight of the structure. The cabin floor and structures inside the cabin are original – a tribute to the craftsmanship of the men who constructed the tower in the mid-1930s.

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