Going to great heights for the Mancos library

Lookout tower auction to aid nonprofit

The Jersey Jim Lookout Tower rises 55 feet above an aspen-lined meadow in the San Juan National Forest. Enlargephoto

Courtesy photo

The Jersey Jim Lookout Tower rises 55 feet above an aspen-lined meadow in the San Juan National Forest.

If you don’t mind heights, this might be the awesome camping experience you’ve been looking for. If you do mind heights, well, maybe it’s time to overcome your fear.

You have just a few days left to enter the online auction for a night with up to three other people of your choosing in the Jersey Jim Lookout Tower.

Two nights are being auctioned individually – Aug. 15 and 16 – with proceeds going to the Mancos Friends of the Library.

The tower, used by the U.S. Forest Service to keep an eye out for fires from the 1940s to ’70s, is in the San Juan National Forest, 14 miles northeast of Mancos.

The online auction has already started and ends at noon on Saturday.

“People really get into this because it’s really hard to get (reservations),” said Silvia Fleitz, secretary for the Mancos Friends. “You just get incredible views up there.”

The two nights were provided by the Jersey Jim Foundation, a nonprofit volunteer organization that in 1991 renovated the tower and saved it from potential demolition. The foundation has donated the nights to the Mancos Friends several years in a row.

“It’s a great donation for the library,” Fleitz said.

A couple things you might want to know about the tower:

The “cabin” is 55 feet high.

There are 70 steps to the top.

The elevation is nearly 10,000 feet.

It was named after an early cattleman who ranched in the area.

For stargazers, it’s a decent time for dark skies. The moon is in a waning gibbous phase, nearly to the last quarter, and won’t rise until 11:15 p.m. on Aug. 15, about midnight on Aug. 16.

Yes, sometimes there’s lightning in the area, and yes, the tower is grounded.

Mancos Friends of the Library is a nonprofit that helps support the library and its programs.

To enter the auction, visit www.mancosfriends.org.

johnp@durangoherald.com

The Jersey Jim Lookout Tower was in use from the 1940s to the 1970s. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal file photo

The Jersey Jim Lookout Tower was in use from the 1940s to the 1970s.