The Flagg Mountain Tower is open to the public after a series of renovations and refurbishment efforts to restore the tower to its tourist form.

Flagg Mountain, known as the “Jewel of the Weogufka State Forest,” sits approximately 1,100 feet above sea level and marks the start of the 335-mile Pinhoti National Recreation Trail. stretching from northeast Alabama to Georgia.

The stone fire tower, which served as a lookout to search for sudden wildfires in Appalachia, was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, a voluntary government work relief program for single men unemployed in their late teens. late 1920s which ran from 1933 to 1942. The program was discontinued in the mid-1940s due to a shortage of resources due to the onset of World War II. Consequently, the tower and Flagg Mountain paid the price, as many facilities on the mountain fell into irreparable decay after more than five decades of neglect.

With sturdy new stairs and revitalized new life as a tourist attraction, one of the tower’s first visitors on reopening day was Kay Ivey of Alabama, who had just won the late Republican gubernatorial primary. may.

“It was a pleasure to visit Coosa County today to officially reopen Flagg Mountain Tower,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey tweeted. “Built in the 1930s, this tower is a symbol of Alabama’s history, rich natural resources, and strength.”

At the reopening ceremony on Wednesday, June 15, Ivey spoke about the state’s future plans and a new commitment to preserving and improving Alabama’s trails for its hikers.

“This is just the beginning,” Ivey said. “We are looking forward to building a visitor center and other amenities. We want to welcome walkers and hikers of all skill levels on Alabama’s longest trail.

In November 2021, MJ “Sunny” Eberhart, also known as “Nimblewill Nomad,” completed the 2,600 mile hike the entire Appalachian Trail at age 83. He was recognized as the oldest person to complete the trek. He started his journey at the Flagg Mountain Tower.

Gazing down from the top of the tower gives sweeping views of the horizon as the tower towers over the top of the Weogufka State Forest in the plains below.

The Alabama Forestry Commission, the agency that leads Flagg Mountain’s conservation efforts, released a 25-page plan in early 2019 detailing Flagg Mountain’s history and outlining a strategic planning process for make general improvements to Flagg Mountain and Weogufka. State forest as a whole. The project highlighted the water pipe requirements for the functional bathrooms at the top of the mountain and the need for new stairs inside the tower itself.

“Through collaboration with the Alabama Hiking Trail Society and Friends of Flagg Mountain, the Alabama Forestry Commission intends to build on the work done by Coosa County Cooperators to restore the cabins of Flagg Mountain and the watchtower in near original condition, with a few adjustments necessary to open the facilities to the public for primitive camping and tourism, with minimal maintenance,” the forestry commission said at the time. of the publication of the plan.

Nine different city and government agencies have combined their efforts to restore Flagg Mountain to its former glory, including the Coosa County Commission.

In 2017, a series of renovations were made to the Flagg Mountain Ranger Hut, including a brand new kitchen, walls, furniture, and restrooms.

The plan also listed ideas for possible future projects for the state forest with a monument next to the fire tower to commemorate the start of the Pinhoti Trail at the top of the list. A few other goals of the forestry commission are to replace bridges along access roads, to improve the marketing of Flagg Mountain with maps, brochures and other promotional materials, and to contact the Creek Indian Tribe for a possible Native American museum.

To separate urgent projects from projects that might take a little longer and are not as high priority, the plan included a strategic planning table where specific items were listed and then rated as high, medium or low priority, as well as the list of the agency the funds will come from this specified item. The fire tower stairs were rated a high priority, with funds for the renovations coming from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Alabama Hiking Trails Society.

As part of the request for new stairs in 2019, the forestry commission noted that the previous stairs were “unsafe to use and in dire need of a complete replacement”.

Now that the renovations are complete, the Flagg Mountain Tower is ready to welcome visitors.