Fire Towers, including Bramley Mountain Fire Tower featured in Kaatscast podcast

Check out this great Kaatscast podcast featuring Brett Barry doing an on-trail interview with FOBMFT board member Laurie Rankin. Besides talking about our project and its origins, Laurie gives a short history of New York State fire towers. Laurie is the daughter of Larry Bake who was the observer at the Balsam Lake Fire Tower, and her deep, personal  knowledge of fire towers makes this podcast extremely compelling.

Not to be missed!   Listen here.

While you’re there, check out the other great Kaatscast podcasts from Silver Hollow Audio.

Major Contribution made by Wayne Bank!

The Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower (Friends) is excited to announce an important contribution from Wayne Bank. Lewis J. Critelli, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wayne Bank, has committed $10,000 to a sponsorship of The Bramley Mountain Fire Tower Restoration Project.

“Wayne Bank is proud to support this valuable project, as the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower is a significant part of Delaware County history,” remarked Mr. Critelli.  “We are so pleased to contribute to its restoration so that it can once again be enjoyed by residents and visitors as a prominent local landmark.” 

Wayne Bank, based in Honesdale, PA, has local Delaware County Community Offices in Andes, Franklin, Hamden, Roxbury, Stamford and Walton.  Bank of Cooperstown, with Community Offices in Cooperstown and Oneonta, is also a unit of Wayne Bank.

The Friends are very grateful for this very generous donation from Wayne Bank. This support will go a long way towards us reaching our goal of raising the funds necessary to reconstruct and then maintain the fire tower on Bramley Mountain.

In addition to the generous donation from Wayne Bank, the Friends have received a number of significant donations from businesses, and grants from organizations.  That critical support has included $5,000 from the Laura Jane Musser Fund, $2,500 from Outsource Consultants, $1,000 from the Delaware County Department of Economic Development and $1,000 business

Another grant!

We’re so happy to be one of the recipients of Delaware County’s Tourism Promotion and Development Grants. With these funds and the Musser Grant we received in February, we were able to contract for the engineering drawings necessary to move the project another step forward! Preliminary drawings have been received!

We did it! We met the matching gift challenge!

In only a few weeks time, supporters of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower project met our $5000 challenge grant, raising a total of $10,000! 

We owe a huge THANK YOU to our benefactor Gale K. for her generous matching gift, and to each of you who stepped up to get us to the top. 

Every dollar puts us that much closer to climbing the stairs of the actual tower, so don’t stop now. We’ve still got a ways to go.

News Coverage Raises the Profile of the Bramley Mountain Trail and the Fire Tower Project

FOBMFT board member Laurie Rankin and her husband, Tom Rankin, recently took Oneonta Daily Star reporter Rick Brockway on a winter tour of the Bramley Mountain Trail, including a visit to the fire tower site on the summit. The trail saw a 65% increase in use in 2020, reaching a record 3294 hikers. It is certain that use will continue to grow, especially when the fire tower opens in a couple of years. You can read about their adventures in Rick’s article linked to below.
https://www.thedailystar.com/sports/local_sports/outdoors-by-rick-brockway-bramley-mt-fire-tower-in-a-winter-wonderland/article_848e3610-f724-54a7-9b65-2e2ce9b8365f.html

We’re a 501(c)(3) now!

Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower has received its 501c3 tax exempt designation so all donations are deductible from income taxes to the extent provided by law. Another step in the effort to restore the tower to Bramley Mountain has been accomplished!

A small step forward in the Fire Tower Project

While the novel coronavirus pandemic caused the Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower to scale back our fundraising efforts on the project, we have continued to take important steps to move the project forward, where practical.

–We submitted our application to become a 501(c)3 organization back in June and are awaiting approval from the IRS.

–On August 25th we performed an inventory and inspection of the fire tower components to help us to determine the total cost of reconstruction, which will then allow us to begin to apply for grants and do other fundraising when the time for that is right.

It was so wonderful getting to meet and talk to Pete Clark, the man who saved the tower in 1970, and his grandson Kyle who is taking this 5th generation family farm to new heights with the opening of their creamery.

It was a big job, moving, sorting, counting and inspecting all the hundreds of pieces of the tower but thanks to Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower volunteers, Forest Fire Lookout Association volunteers, Davana LLC (fire tower restorers) and the Clark family (owners of the tower), we got it done before severe thunderstorms rolled in.

Because of the care the Clark family took in taking the tower down, moving it and storing it, the parts were all accounted for and were generally in excellent condition. A few components had pack rust on them and will have to be replaced – a result of too tight crimping during the manufacturing process that did not allow the hot dipping material to penetrate and protect the metal. More than 90% of the parts were accounted for and in excellent condition!

Thank you to Laurie, Rick, Bob, John, Wendell, Jim, Bill, Tom, Dave, Chris, Tom C and Kyle for all the hard work!

roof panels
sides from the fire tower cab
The original alidade from the fire tower. This device contained a map which was turned to sight smoke from a distant fire, helping to determine the location of fires.
component marked as railing for the 4th landing
The staircases. Photo courtesy of FFLA
Sorting like pieces with like pieces. Photo courtesy of FFLA
The window frames from the cab. Photo courtesy of FFLA
Looking through the leg components. Photo courtesy of FFLA