Friends of Stissing Landmarks (“FOSL”) is a New York State non-profit formed in 1986 which preserves landmarks in the Stissing Mountain area for public enjoyment. Our treasures include the Stissing Mountain fire tower and its related hiking trails as well as the newly acquired Patchins Mill.
- FOSL owns the Fire Tower on a one-acre parcel around the Tower.
- FOSL is operated by a Board of Directors with seven members serving one-year terms. Our organizational structure does not include a general membership for liability reasons; however, formal or informal participation in FOSL activities is welcome.
- We encourage donations. We hold approximately six business meetings which are open to the public each year. Contact us by email for upcoming meetings and events. Or call 518-398-5069 for trail information.
Some Fire Tower History
The Stissing Fire Tower is located in the Town of Pine Plains, NY near the summit of Stissing Mountain, elevation 1402 feet. This ninety foot steel tower was originally constructed as a Civilian Conservation Corps project in 1934 for fire spotting purposes. The Tower provides vistas east to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont; Southwest to Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and North to the Empire State Plaza in Albany. The Tower was last used for fire spotting in 1973. The ranger’s cabin, located approximately 200 feet to the north, burned in 1976. New York State announced in 1986 that the Tower was no longer needed and would be removed. Concerned citizens formed FOSL in 1986 to take over responsibility for the Tower and keep it open for the public. In 1994, the Tower was turned over to FOSL, which maintains the structure today. Hikers are welcome to access the Tower at their own risk and at no cost. We do encourage all users to send donations to assist in the maintenance of the Tower.
Stissing Mountain and the Surrounding Area
Stissing Mountain is an unusual outcrop of gneiss over one billion years old which was lifted through and on top of younger geological formations. The mountain was clear-cut for charcoal production in the mid 1800’s and was used primarily for firewood supplies until the early 1900’s. It is broken into approximately 40 parcels with several large and small owners. The State has acquired over 300 acres including the Stissing Mountain Multiple Use Area off Hicks Hill Road where the west trailhead is located. The mountain and surrounding area is the subject of a permanent display in the Museum of Natural History in NYC. The Nature Conservancy has acquired a 300 acre holding on the east side of the Mountain around Thompson Pond, a glacial kettle. This preserve has been designated a National Natural Landmark. Stissing Lake, also on the east side, is slightly north. Stissing Lake is a glacial lake with a depth of approximately 35 feet in its deepest areas. These lakes, ponds, and adjoining wetlands are home and stopover points to a large variety of wildlife, including eagles.