Nakusp and Area Trails Society to complete restoration of Saddle Mountain Lookout

The completion of the trail has been in the works since 2011.

Restoration of the lookout station at the top of Saddle Mountain Fire Lookout Trail is expected to be completed by the start of fall.

The Nakusp and Area Trail Society (NATS) has wanted to restore the station since the society’s inception in 2011.

They got their chance in 2015, working with Recreation Sites and Trails BC.

“The first year Rec Sites and Trails paid for most of the restoration of the exterior of the building, the roof, windows, stairs, any of the siding that needed to be done, it was a huge project,” said Barb Chwachka, chair of the Nakusp and area Trail Society. “Last summer we restored the interior, and we paid for that through the recreation infrastructure grant, walls framing, we put in two sleeping platforms, tables, benches, and installed a new outhouse out there.”

This summer, NATS wants to put up signage mostly inside the building which will give a history of the lookout along with the people who worked there and will describe the building’s purpose. Panoramic photos from the lookout will also be taken, and the peaks of each mountain will be identified.

Signage will also be posted outside saying Saddle Mountain Lookout, and a post thanking all of the people and organizations that supported the restoration project will be posted as well.

All of the companies working on the project are from West Kootenay.

To help fund the restoration, NATS applied for and received money from the Community Initiatives Grant totalling $10,134.

Part of this funding will go toward setting up a kiosk in town at a location yet to be determined. The kiosk will have all the information available at the lookout. This is being done so people who can’t make it up to the lookout can learn about it from the ground.

“You have to be in fairly good shape, a lot of it is quite steep,” said Chwachka. “It’s steep in places, and if you’re not in good shape you probably couldn’t do the whole hike. If you’ve got a heart condition or a physical disability, you probably couldn’t do this trail.”

The hope is to have everything installed by the beginning of September at the earliest, but it’s dependent on many factors, including the weather. The latest NATS will be able to make it up to the lookout is late September or early October, depending on when the first big snow is on top of the mountain.