The Orange River Lookout Tower is the last fire watch tower standing in Lee County.
The 100 feet tower was built in the 1930s to spot wildfires. Located on the outskirts of Manatee Park in Fort Myers, rangers are able to spot fires six miles away.
There used to be several fire towers throughout Lee County:
- Corkscrew Tower on State Road 82
- The Estero Tower on U.S. Route 41 near San Carlos;
- Pine Island Tower in Cape Coral
But thanks to aircraft, cell phones towers, and enhanced emergency systems fire watch towers are no longer needed.
The Orange River Lookout Tower is now used as an educational tool for forest fires and for physical training. Rangers get a full workout running up and down the 120 steps to the top.
Additional reporting by Terrace Myles