After a half-century of service as a fire protector, a mountaintop tower in the Cherokee National Forest has a new mission as an economic generator.

The rebuilt Pinnacle fire tower near Unicoi is being promoted as the cornerstone of a hiking and mountain biking trail system.

The non-profit Partners of the Cherokee National Forest organization led an effort to raise $146,000 for the tower project.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, guests climbed the steps of the 40-foot-tall tower to a roomy observation deck that has replaced the original enclosed cabin.

District forest ranger Terry Bowerman told The Knoxville News Sentinel that local residents remember visiting it as kids and “to them, it wasn’t just a fire tower, it was much more. It had a strong connection to the community.”

— From our friends at the Knoxville News Sentinel

Pinnacle Tower