Visitors to a new nonprofit rental property in Gordon, Wis. can enjoy a rustic cabin and access to a fire tower with unique views of the upper reaches of the St. Croix River. The 100-foot tower built in 1935 was used by the Department of Natural Resources for 80 years to look for wildfires. When it was decommissioned and set to be torn down in 2015, local citizens and a nonprofit rallied to purchase it and open it to the public.
The site is now owned by the nonprofit Friends of the Bird Sanctuary, which has long helped protect the nearby 4,000-acre Douglas County bird sanctuary in the unique barrens habitat.
Residents of Gordon and the surrounding area held numerous fundraisers over the past two years to acquire and reopen the tower. The cabin was donated and moved to the site from a nearby lake.
This summer, the fire tower is open for rentals through Airbnb, where it is called “the only rental of its kind east of the Rocky Mountains.”
The nightly fee, which starts at $67, includes the one-room cabin with a composting toilet and no running water — “camping with style,” the hosts call it — a tent-camping area, RV electrical hookup, and access to the fire tower.
In addition to overnight visitors, the tower is open to the public every other Sunday afternoon from 1-4 p.m. this summer. The next scheduled date is Sunday, July 4.