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Organization hopes to turn Gordon Fire Tower into vacation rental

GORDON, WI– A unique new vacation spot could help preserve a piece of Wisconsin history.

A historic fire tower in Gordon used to serve as an overlook for the DNR, helping them spot forests fires. Soon it will serve as a weekend getaway destination.

Chances are if you look up to the sky in this small Northwest Wisconsin town, you’ll spot a rustic, 100-foot high fire tower.

“This is like the Eiffel Tower of Gordon,” says Cathy Dahlberg, a board member for Friends of the Bird Sanctuary.

The fire tower was one of 72 in Wisconsin dating back to the 1930s that the DNR decommissioned for safety and funding reasons. This fire tower was on the chopping block.

A volunteer with Friends of the Bird Sanctuary, John Hubler says, “the Gordon fire tower is only one of two towers left in the state.”

The non-profit along with the help of a local neighbor, Brian Finstad, brainstormed a way to keep the tower intact.

“He [Brian] saved the day. He was the fella who actually found the last fire tower and at the eleventh hour, it was going to be let out for bids for scrap steel,” says Hubler.

After word of the tower’s fate was out, Gordon Summer goers cracked opened their wallets to help save the landmark.

Dahlberg says, “We realized just how important to the community and to the people who live around here and just in the Summer months. A year and a half later, we are well on our way to creating an Airbnb camping site here.”

The organization has been working to turn the land into a destination camping spot. “We had to get permits, we had to buy property, we had to swap property,” Dahlberg says.

With the recent donation of a small cabin, the spot became all the more sweet.  “The fire tower will belong to you and you’ll be able to either stay and camp or you can stay in this wonderful cabin.”

The revenue from the camp fees, going towards preservation.  Hubler says, “this will be funds that they will be able to generate to keep the insurance up on the fire tower, etc. so people can go up in there.”

Reminding those who visit the tower, the important role it played. “It’s got to be preserved because once they’re gone like this one would have been, it’s all over with. People won’t recognize that this is how we saved our forests.”

Friends of the Bird Sanctuary are selling steps from the tower you can buy them and dedicate them to someone.

For more ways on how you can donate or reserve a spot at the campsite visit Friends of the Bird Sanctuary Facebook Page.


GORDON, WI — A unique new vacation spot could help preserve a piece of Wisconsin history.

A Whitefish Lake cabin was moved to the base of the old Gordon fire tower Thursday.

The cabin was donated to ‘The Friends of the Bird Sanctuary,” a non-profit organization in Gordon.

The organization plans to use it as a vacation rental, a move they they hope will help keep the decommissioned Gordon fire tower standing.

“It’s something that’s gotta to be preserved, because once they’re gone, like this one would have been on the eleventh hour, it’s all over with,” said John Hubler, a volunteer with The Friends of the Bird Sanctuary.

We’ll show you more of the moving process tonight at 10.

Jessie Slater

Evening Anchor and Reporter

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