WTA.org December 10, 2021 blog
“Lost Fire Lookout Hikes and Histories: Olympic Peninsula and Willapa Hills” by Leslie Romer
Our state’s rainy western flanks might not be first place you’d look for fire lookouts, but local hiker and author Leslie Romer has documented over 60 current and former lookout sites between the mouth of the Columbia River and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Part history book and part guidebook, Romer combines years of ground-truthing with detailed, archival research to bring these oft-forgotten sites to life. “Lost Fire Lookout Hikes and Histories” lays out all the background you need to start planning your summer adventures around the Olympic Peninsula and find some truly off-the-beaten path locales.
https://www.facebook.com/people/Polson-Museum/100057288895080/, December 15 post. Published as part of a five book review in the Aberdeen Daily World: December 16 by Jon Larson, Polson Museum Director:
For the physically active history fan, the newest addition to the local written record is Leslie Romer’s “Lost Fire Lookout Hikes and Histories: Olympic Peninsula and Willapa Hills.” Released only last week, this 330-page softback is packed with historical geography detailing 66 individual hikes to the fire lookouts that once dotted our region. The hikes themselves were chosen for being accessible to the public and range from a half mile to twenty one miles in length. While few of the lookouts remain, Romer has done exhaustive research to locate where they once stood and has created a lasting record of this once crucial network of early warning stations. With many dating to World War II and ranging from the Columbia River to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and everywhere in between (a majority here in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties), each hike is detailed for historical context as well as for geographical accessibility. The cartography is excellent and this book is highly illustrated with historic photos. $22.95 softback.
OUR COAST WEEKEND Arts and Entertainment Weekly, January 11, 2022. Astoria, OR
“Bookmonger: Hiking guides for nearby exploring”
For all of you who have dreams of getting out into nature more in 2022, here are two new books that will encourage you to do so!
“Lost Fire Lookout Hikes and Histories” offers over 60 hikes to fire lookout sites throughout the Willapa Hills and the Olympic Peninsula. In researching these destinations, Olympia, Washington, author Leslie Romer proves to be not just a doughty hiker but also a veritable scholar.
But before you get to the section of the book that details the hikes, please read the 11 pages of preface. These contain smart advice that Romer wants to convey to anyone following in her footsteps, things like: make sure you know who owns the land where you’ll be hiking, and get the proper permits ahead of time; know the etiquette you should practice when encountering wild animals; and, don’t skimp on the Ten Essentials.
Heeding this counsel will lead to a better experience once you actually hit the trails.
Following this introduction, Romer has prepared at-a-glance tables that summarize the hikes by distance, elevation gain, seasonal access and more.
Then you’ll get to the actual hike descriptions. Each entry methodically includes an overview, driving directions to the trailhead, a map and detailed directions for the hike.
Romer also combed through archival records and pored over old maps and written guides to provide mini-histories of each site and even information about some of the folks who once staffed and supplied these lookouts. These included a Disney illustrator, a famous female horse packer, and — during World War II — Aircraft Warning Service spotters.
“Lost Fire Lookout Hikes and Histories” provides destinations that are off the beaten path.
The Bookmonger is Barbara Lloyd McMichael, who writes this weekly column focusing on the books, authors and publishers of the Pacific Northwest.