LEM Lookout Site
Located inside Clemans Tree Farm south of Montesano in Grays Harbor County. This was Americas first tree farm, and this lookout was one of four lookouts designated for fire prevention and experimentation when the forest was established in 1940. Washington Governor Arthur B. Langlie delivered the dedicatory address during the tree farm dedication on June 12th 1941. Owned by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, the 120,000 acre Clemons Tree Farm was established to demonstrate fire control and reforestation practices. Named for local logger Charles H. Clemons, the Clemons Tree Farm became the first in a succession of privately owned forest lands certified for growing trees as a crop and practicing forest management on a sustainable basis. The resulting tree farm program was quickly adopted around the country. The American Tree Farm System was established in response to the twin threats of forest fires and government regulation of private forestlands. For decades, high tax rates on forestland gave timberland owners little incentive to hold on to the lands and reforest them after logging. Rather, it was cheaper to buy timberlands, log them, and then walk away and default on the taxes. By the 1930s, former chief of the U.S. Forest Service Gifford Pinchot and other foresters were demanding that the federal government take over private timberlands as the best way to assure a future timber supply. By the eve of World War II, the debate over who could best manage private forestlands had reached an impasse. The Weyerhaeuser Timber Company took an active interest in changing public attitudes about fire prevention. Heavy recreational use on its tracts in Grays Harbor County and elsewhere had long posed a fire hazard to reforestation efforts. To deal with the threat, by the summer of 1941 Weyerhaeuser had constructed an infrastructure of lookout towers, telephone lines, and roads. Then to publicize the importance of preventing fires, the company invited the public to tour the forest they now called a tree farm and held a dedication ceremony attended by five hundred people and the governor of Washington. The tree farm concept was born and became a huge success. LEM lookout was likely built in 1940 or within a few years prior.
Elevation: 840+ feet
Distance: 1/4 mile vehicle permit, 5 with non-motorized permit
Elevation Gain: 120 feet
Location: SW1/4 of S31 T17N R6W
Weyerhaeuser Permit Area - Aberdeen General Access Permit
Washington Lookout Sites
With just the 1940's cartoon like maps, I pinpointed several possible locations. The most promising site turned out to have the footings. Even while standing on the summit of the lookout location, I didn't see the footings for some time. The moss and pine needles had buried them nearly halfway, with brush over the rest. Two footings were found nearly 20 feet apart. I didn't search too long, I believe the lookout had been removed and was not burned in place.
From Highway 8 going west, take the second Elma exit. Turn south off the highway onto Wakefield Road. After crossing the Chehalis River vear left, go a mile or so then turn right onto Delezenne road. Drive until you reach the Boy Scout Camp and first gate. The last few miles are good dirt county road. I parked at the scout camp although the gates are likely open.
There are a few ways up, the most direct looked on aerial maps to have washouts and was overgrown in places. The next most direct route continues past the Boy Scout camp, beyond the P-Line to the K-Line. Follow the K-Line up to the A-Line on the ridge-top. This former railroad grade will take you west all the way to the lookout site area. At the road highpoint near the lookout, bushwhack through forest along the ridge NE until you are at the summit.
1940 map showing all 4 lookouts, Vesta, LEM, Minot & Byles
Map showing 3 lookouts, LEM, Minot & Byles
View north from the road near the summit
Signs still greet visitors to the Clemons Tree Farm
Footing one un-earthed
Footing one found like this
Footing two un-earthed
Footing two found like this
Trees at the LEM Lookout Site
Trees at the LEM Lookout Site