On the watch for forest fires atop the Catfish Tower.
(Visitors are always welcome.) By Cindy Ross Bob Wolff completes the last leg of his daily commute, carrying a walking stick and a backpack.
The 1/2-mile hike from his car takes him
to his office atop the 60-foot-tall Catfish
Fire Tower in the Delaware Water Gap
National Recreation Area. From this
perch along the Appalachian Trail on the
Kittatinny Ridge, Wolff, a state fire war-
den, can accurately identify the location
of fires for 10 miles around on a clear day,
covering 100 square miles.
Wolff might not see another hu-
2015 alone, he spotted 150 fires.
man on his walk to work, but he often
encounters wild turkey and whitetail
deer—even an occasional black bear. On
this early spring day, I am accompanying
him on the commute. Within minutes,
deposited by a black bear. “That’s either
a really good meal,” says Wolff, “or a re-
ally big bear.”
The 56-year-old Wolff has manned the
Catfish Fire Tower for 30 years. It’s plain
to see that he’s good at his job. In April
The Forest Fire Lookout Association, a
ABOVE I T ALL
From atop of the Catfish
Fire Tower, Bob Wolff,
right, can scan 100
square miles of Jersey
wilderness. Below: Wolff
uses an Osborne Fire
Finder to pinpoint a