South reflector tower on top of Saddleback Mountain, east of Logan. (Photo courtesy: US Forest Service)

LOGAN — For more than 50 years the two large reflectors on Saddleback Mountain, east of Logan, have been a landmark for residents in Cache Valley and a destination for some avid hikers and trail runners. Beginning this week, crews will start dismantling the approximately 35 foot tall structures that haven’t been used for years.

Local trail runner, Jeremy Collier summiting Saddleback Mountain, Sunday, May 8, 2022 (Photo courtesy: Emily Collier)

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Service manages the federal land the towers sit on and announced the demolition last week. It is expected to take about three weeks and will partially close a section of Green Canyon intermittently.

Logan District Recreation Manager David Ashby said the forest service has been working for some time, determining that the towers are no longer being used and can now be removed. Beginning this week, a crew and helicopter will start tearing down the towers and flying the debris down to the parking lot at the Green Canyon Trailhead.

“The crew will have their helicopter at the Logan Cache Airport,” said Ashby. “Once they’ve got a load, the helicopter will fly up and take it directly to the parking lot in Green Canyon. That is the safest, shortest distance, to a flat spot where they can drop off the pieces of the towers as they come down.”

The crew is planning on working Mondays and Tuesdays for the next three weeks, when traffic in the canyon will be lighter. They will avoid the weekends, when the canyon is usually filled with campers, bicyclists and trail runners.

Ashby said the forest service is asking for people to be aware, the canyon and parking lot will be closed temporarily as the helicopter lands and takes off.

“So folks can go up the canyon, we are not telling them they can’t but they might want to consider a different area during the project. We’ll have pieces of the microwave towers sitting in the parking lot at times, while loading them onto flatbed trucks and hauling them away.”

The southern reflector on top of Saddleback Mountain, Sept. 2020

The reflector towers were built in the mid 1960’s as part of the old telephone microwave network, previously used by Mountain Bell Systems and AT&T. The signal went from the Logan central office, at 100 E. Center Street, to the top of Saddleback Mountain, and then onto a relay station at Mud Flat and over to Garden City. With direct long-distance dialing later being implemented and now cellphone technology, the towers haven’t been used for decades.

Ashby, who has grown up in Cache Valley, admits that the mountain landscape is going to look different without the towers.

“Yeah, everybody is going to notice that it is gone. It is going to be awhile before we don’t look up there and wonder where they went.”

Although not really visible from the valley floor, the reflector towers have been decorated with a variety of graffiti over the years, including an American flag and the latest names of lovers. A third tower that was built midway up the mountain was taken down years ago.

Source link

Leave a Reply