On April 10th, the Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine was notified of serious vandalism to the Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower in Essex County, NY, near Keeseville. New York State Forest Rangers were notified and began an investigation.
It appears that between April 3rd and 10th, the vandal(s) used a rock to break the lock off the tower door. They then detached the replica Osborne Fire Finder (a table map) from its housing and removed it from the fire tower. It weighs about 25 pounds.
The New York State Forest Rangers are continuing their investigation, and we are asking that anyone hiking the mountain inspect visually along the trails, and that anyone with any relevant information contact the New York State Forest Rangers at 1-833-NYS-RANGERS.
The map is a solid flat circular object, disk-like, approximately 30” in diameter mounted on ¾-inch plywood, with an aluminum band along its outer edge, and it may still retain its glass cover.
The 2,180-foot Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain summit and can be reached by the 1.8-mile Observer’s Trail or the 2.5-mile Ranger Trail. The fire tower cabin is staffed by volunteers and open to the public Thursday through Monday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The fire tower is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In November of 2022 a hiker reported that several hundred dollars worth of gear was stolen from their locked car at the trailhead parking lot.
Photo of the replica Osborne Fire Finder at Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain before it was stolen.