Belview Shelter - Fire Lookout & AWS

Hiking up the North Fork Skokomish out of Staircase, the Six Ridge Trail has a reputation for being a rough, waterless, primitive trail route. For some extra motivation, there is some interesting history regarding the Belview Shelter that once existed high on the ridge. During the summer of 1942, somebody had the responsibility to watch 24 hours a day for enemy aircraft. The Aircraft Warning Service documents clearly list the Belview Shelter as one of the summer only stations in Olympic National Park. Documents show there was already an existing structure and no A.W.S. funds were used for construction. That first summer in 1942, an observer started on June 20 and didn't stop until October 10th. During August that year, a document went out regarding the winter locations of A.W.S. observers on points which cannot practicably be operated during the winter time. Belview made the list and it was agreed the observer would be moved to Big Log Shelter down at the valley bottom at the start of the Six Ridge Trail. Later they decided to winter at the Lincoln Guard Station (Staircase). When this shelter was built is unknown, sometime earlier than 1937, as it was on a list of shelters in Mount Olympus National Monument. There is one indication that the shelter was used for fire spotting. After its use for spottng aircraft, war documents said to retain the site after the war. According to the book by Robert L. Wood "Trail Country" (1968) page 195, "On the south edge of the second meadow stands the broken down Belview Shelter, destroyed by an avalanche." So it appears it did not last past the late 1960s.
Location: Section 21, Township 24 North, Range 6 West
Ownership at time: National Forest
Elevation: 4,040 feet
Date AWS was activated: June 20, 1942
Aircraft Warning Service - Washington State
AWS In Washington
AWS map showing Belview summer station with Lincoln Ranger Station as the winter post
Forestry A.W.S. Stations Legend
bellview shelter belview olympia belview shelter forest service forest service map olympus olympus belview map belview usgs map winter locations bellview shelter
Belview on the service stations list
Belview on the summer stations list in Section 21, T24N, R6W
Belview should be spelled with one L
Original plan was to spend the winter months at Big Log Shelter
1937 list of shelters in the Olympus National Monument
List of Forest Service Observation Posts. Belview Shelter is listed as a National Forest Service Lookout. 55 out of 59 are known fire lookout structures. The remaining four I am in the process of proving they were being used for fire. (Constance Pass, Palex, Low Divide and Belview Shelter.)
Olympic Lookouts
This 1965 edition of the 1947 map shows the trails the best and labels the Belview Shelter
The shelter is shown as far back as the 1938 map
Trails a bit easier to see on this 1951 edition of the 1938 map
Current USGS map shows small lake where the shelter was located. One current National Park reference online calls this Belview Lake.
bellview camp
Belview Camp with trees growing in the views in 2015
Photo by Opus
bellview camp bellview sign
Photo by ScottM
Photo by ScottM
Belview Campsite 2009
Belview sign at the camp
"Along the Six Ridge trail one can find artifacts such as what I think are telegraph spools and wires on trees, blazes, and near the crest a large blaze on a tree with the remains of what appears to have been a large sign." Phil of in 2004
six ridge map
Both the 1930 and 1933 Olympic National Forest map depicts dots (a phone line) running alongside the trail from Big Log up to Six Ridge Point, and the 1933 map shows it ending at TLP a telephone box, presumably for fire reporting. (Thanks RodF of
don stoneman
Don Stoneman at the Six Ridge Phone Box location
There was a large blaze/sign on the Seven Stream side.......this was the location of a phone box in the days of wire telephones. (Bruce of
shelter list shelter list shelter list
Belview was on a 1956 shelters repair list
1962 proposed trailside shelters list - considered replacing