Copperhead Fire Tower stands proud over Shawnee State Forest

Rehabilitation complete and visitors welcome

Portsmouth, OH – Copperhead Fire Tower, longtime area landmark stationed at Shawnee State Forest, has been recently restored and welcomes visitors, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry.

High on Copperhead Ridge in Scioto County off forest road 6 in the northern part of Ohio’s largest state forest, Copperhead Fire Tower was built in 1924 and is Ohio’s first tower.

“We are happy to have the towers standing on Ohio State Forests completely renovated, and all are welcome to visit Shawnee State Forest and Copperhead Fire Tower,” said Robert Boyles, state forester and chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Those who are able may climb nearly 60 feet up the steps to enjoy a breathtaking view, and appreciate first hand the proud legacy of natural resource conservation this historic tower has given us.”

Once part of a 40 fire tower system across southern and eastern Ohio, the Copperhead Fire Tower is one of 20 towers remaining. The fire towers overseen by the Ohio Division of Forestry, except for Tappan Tower at Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District's Tappan Lake Park, have been restored in cooperation with the Ohio Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association, beginning in 2006. Division of Forestry state forest crews scraped, primed and painted the metal supports, replaced and waterproofed stair treads and landings, and upgraded windows, interior woodwork, and roofs on the tiny cabins topping the towers.

The Copperhead tower restoration was completed in 2010 with the assistance of the Ohio Woodlands Job Corps crew stationed at Shawnee State Forest. Keeping with tradition, lumber used for the stairs and cabin was grown and milled in state forests.

A new interpretive sign was installed at the base of the tower, describing the history of wildfire prevention and suppression in Ohio, the important role of fire towers, and current fire science research being done in the state using prescribed fire to promote oak regeneration and control natural fuel buildup.

For more information about fire towers in Ohio, the Forest Fire Lookout Association, Smokey Bear, and Shawnee State Forest, visit the Division of Forestry Web site at

Ohio grows more acres of trees than corn and soybeans combined. The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at