The Butts Creek Point fire lookout has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, according to Salmon-Challis National Forest officials.
The lookout was added to the prestigious list in December. The national register is America’s official list of historic properties considered important in the past and worthy of preservation.
The Butts Creek lookout is sometimes referred to as the Butts Point lookout. It is on the breaks of the Salmon River canyon within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The 10-acre site sits at 7,836 feet elevation on a prominent knob surrounded by a forest of mixed lodgepole pine and fir with an understory of native grasses rooted in decomposed granite soils, forest Public Affairs Officer Amy Baumer said.
Two buildings are at the lookout site, along with a helipad managed by the North Fork Ranger District of the Salmon-Challis Forest. The lookout has four glass walls that provide a 360-degree view of some of the most remote landscapes in the lower 48. People can see the Clearwater Mountains, the Bitterroot Mountains, the Bighorn Crags and the Salmon River Mountains from the lookout.
Construction of the pre-manufactured framed lookout building began in 1933. It’s 14x14-feet. The kit materials were bundled for pack string delivery and taken to the site by a 10-mule string, Baumer said. The lookout was used from 1933 until 1982. All of the cabinets, the wood stove and other original interior items were built to stand below the windowsills to ensure premium visibility from the lookout.
For the last decade, a restoration effort at the lookout has been led by Dr. Philip Krueger of Boise. Krueger worked as a fire lookout at the site while a college student. When the Forest Service began dismantling fire lookouts in the 1980s, Krueger negotiated an agreement to leave the Butts Creek lookout standing as long as he maintained the property. He and his family restored it to its 1940s condition. Krueger, who has practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Boise for decades, was also instrumental in getting the site listed on the historic register.