Dan Creek Lookout Site
Note found in the Darrington Ranger Station files
At the end of the 1943 season the guard, George W. Rhoads, left a memo:
Locating Dan Creek Guard Station has been difficult. So far, I have visited the area twice with no luck in finding any signs of the old shelter. If you know anything, please contact me. This guard station was highlighted in the book "Lookouts - Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics" by Byron Fish & Ira Spring. The picture and fire reports on the right are from the book. The book says the shelter was revealed when new logging roads and a timber sale came to the area (probably around 1980). Around the shelter was a rusted stove, tin cans and a five-gallon water can.
Elevation: Unknown TBD
Fire Report found in the Darrington Ranger Station files
On July 18, 1941, fire report made by the guard Jim Tucker to District Ranger Charles Thurston in Darrington. Lightning had hit a large cedar snag across Dan Creek and it was burning, causing several other hot spots on the ridge.
The firefinder fits into the top of a stump about 50 feet directly behind the shelter. The antenna pole may be used again. The garbage pit cover can be moved to a new hole when the present one becomes full. I left an assortment of grub you may use, if it is still good. It is in the big box by the writing desk. There is a full can of Velvet tobacco in the box, too, use it if you want to. The five-gallon water can had a mouse in it. It was bailed out but the memory lingers on.
What Side Of Dan Creek?
There is some debate as to which side of Dan Creek the station was at. I have focused on the east side of Dan Creek based on the azimuth in the fire report. BUT, the Darrington Historical Society gives the following information on their website:
Dans Creek Fire Lookout was built in 1940 and was located on the northwest slope of Gold Hill East of Darrington, The lookout was situated on upstream of Dans Creek on along the eastern bench at an elevation of 1,940 feet. This lower elevation lookout was able to see clearly under cloud cover to the mountains and valley to the north. The cabin was "manned" part time and worked in conjunction with the Gold hill Ranger Station located on Sauk Prairie to the west. The cabin was reported as still standing in the 1980's. Ruins or cabin could not be located in 2011.
Recent Timber Sales In The Area
I contacted the Timber Sale Administrator for Darrington who could have possibility run across something while setting up the timber sales in the Dan Creek area. The administrator in 1980 is who we really need to find. The 2016 administrator said:
There was one structure that was the remnants of an old trappers cabin in the area, but the only other structure that may be possible that I was told about was beyond the end of the sale on the 2432 road. The area you talk about was covered under the Decline timber sale. I didnít arrive here until that timber sale had already been laid out and we started harvesting.
Dan Creek Guard Station 1979
July 18, 1941 Fire Report
I've got numerous locations picked out on the NE shoulder of Gold Mountain based on historical aerial photographs.
I have checked this area (in yellow on left) as well. The left circle is the area of the Gold Hill Ranger Station that worked in conjunction with the Dan Creek Shelter.
This old hand drawn map has been really helpful in other research. It does show a shelter in the Decline and Dan Creek area.
Fire Lookouts of Washington
Tips and the Fire Report led to searching the areas of red circles (my azimuth might be a bit off)
Craig inspects a large legacy tree used as a tail hold during logging
Above: The view from the 24 Road on the NE shoulder of Gold Mountain. West of Dan Creek.
Right: The image on the Darrington Historical Society website taken from much higher on the NE shoulder of Gold Mountain where they suggest the shelter was located.