Located just a few feet inside the Makah Nation, this low elevation lookout according to the Kresek Lookout Inventory was a US Coast Guard tower built in 1942 for spotting aircraft. Due to its position overlooking much of the forest to the south and west, it was retained as a fire lookout by the State of Washington. The 80 foot steel tower with a 7 by 7 foot cab on top was moved in 1957 to Sooes Peak and is still up on Sooes, lying sideways in the forest. Along with a tower, Neah Lookout had a ground house cabin that was built strong. Much of the cabin remains including the stove, bed and other amenities now crushed underneath the collapsed walls. The lookout inventory says the site was abandoned in 1953, leaving it unused for 4 years before the tower was moved to Sooes Peak. Somewhere at the location is a benchmark stamped Indian Service L.O. 1942 in a sandstone boulder projecting one foot above the ground. Although the footings have been moved, the concrete step for the stairs seems to still be in place. A timber sale around 2010 removed all the timber at the site opening up the views. In 2017, they were perfect, good for another 6 years or so before new trees will block it again. The current access is through the Olympic Tree Farm and is open for non-motorized recreational use.
Elevation: 811 feet
Distance: Three mile road walk\bike
Elevation gain: 900 feet
The access is through the Olympic Tree Farm and is open for non-motorized recreational use.
Not too far away, the Army had an AWS lookout by the name Neah sometimes called Neah Bay.
Olympic Tree Farm Gate
Under the umbrella during a rain shower
Forest road walk
Seal Rock and Sail Rock, Vancouver Island in distance
Neah Lookout 2017
Neah Lookout house
Neah Lookout house in 2003
On May 21, 1951, the first cooperative forest fire protection agreement between the Western Washington Agency and the Washington State Division of Forestry was entered into. The Makah Reservation was not involved in that agreement. During the time that Crown Zellerbach was operating on the Wa-ach timber sale, the full resources of this company were available and we needed no assistance from other sources. With the expiration of the Wa-ach contract, we were faced with a serious situation. Our available equipment and manpower was inadequate to provide proper protection from fire for the Makah forest. After considerable negotiation, a cooperative fire protection agreement was made with Crown Zellerbach to partially rectify the situation. This agreement was approved by the Area Director, September 6, 1956. On May 20, 1957, the Makah Reservation was brought under our agreement with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, which has provided protection for the Makah forest lands from that date. The lookout now located on Sooes Peak was established as a result of an agreement between the Makah Tribe and Crown Zellerbach. The original agreement was made October 31, 1955. This was subsequently modified July 23, 1956. The net result was that Crown Zellerbach moved the 80-foot steel tower from its previous location to its present one, at a cost to the Tribe of $3,000. Otherwise, Crown Zellerbach bore all the cost of dismantling and moving the tower, constructing from a quarter to a half mile of road to the top of Sooes Peak, setting up the tower and installing a cabin suitable for living quarters. Presently, the State mans the tower, furnishes and maintains the cabin. The tower serves State and private land south of the reservation, including a considerable area of Crown Zellerbach property, and provides excellent coverage of the Makah Reservation. The Bureaus only contribution to this cooperative venture was the tower.
Makah memo from around 1960.
Ray Kresek has the wooden fire finder from Neah Lookout. Wooden firefinders were made by the State Division of Forestry because of the metal shortage brought on by WWII. The firefinder has the map on it clearly indicating it was Neah Lookout (in red). Also on map board could be seen Ozette Lookout (in red). Neah Bay is not on the map. Rod Fosback borrowed it at one point to make a copy of it for his lookout.
Art and Aunt Ruth Claplanhoo staffed it during WWII
From the 1954 Makah Timber Plan
Makah forestry memo from around 1960