Martin Hill Fire Tower

Martin Hill Fire Tower

At 2700 ft. above sea level the Martin Hill Fire Tower was built on top of the southern point of Tussey Mountain. Measuring in at 68 ft. it overlooks appro. 11,500 acres of State Forest land. The forest lands in Maryland and West Virginia could also be monitored from this lofty perch. The number of fires reported in 1927 by "towerman" Irvin Ruby were only two, while the following year there were nineteen.

Forester, William Byers had this steel, aermotor tower built in the fall of 1921, at the cost of $610.03. The equipment inside the tower included an iron table stand with a wooden top, a U.S.G.S. map, binoculars, oil heater and a desk phone, but no chair. Near the 16 ft. base, there was a small cabin for the watchman to stay in and an outhouse nearby , but the nearest drinking water was one mile away. The fire tower has been closed since the 80's.


Martin Hill supports a variety of wildlife, some you might expect, like quail, rabbits, squirrels, whitetail deer and black bear. But don't be surprised to see porcupines, rattlesnakes, coyotes, flying squirrels, beavers and an occasional bald eagle.

During the depression, the government offered farmers who owned land that had sub-marginal soil, a chance to sell it at market value. Because the southern part of Bedford County is covered with slate and steep slopes, a lot of farmers sold their farms to the state for appro. $2.00 an acre. This land became part of Buchanan State Forest Land, (named after our 15th President, James Buchanan).

new communition towers

Today the highest point on Martin Hill is filled up with different styles of communication towers.

There are 14 miles of trails opened to licensed ATV's from the Fri. before Memorial Day until the last full weekend in Sept. Since 1971 you could ride your licensed snowmobile on the Martin Hill trails.