Ferncliff Forest is a 200-acre old-growth forest preserve of deciduous and hemlock trees located in Rhinebeck, a town in the northern part of Dutchess County, New York. The property was bought by John Jacob Astor IV in 1900 and remained in the Astor family until 1963, when it was donated as a forest preserve and game refuge. The preserve is maintained by Ferncliff Forest LLC, a private, non-profit organization. Towers on the property were used for map-making, surveillance for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's home during World War II, as well as recreational sight-seeing. Visitors can camp and hike the 4 miles of trails free-of-charge.
The most recently built fire tower in Ferncliff Forest measures 80 feet tall, with 109 steps. It was erected in 2007, the first since 1941 in New York. In 1942, the observation towers in Ferncliff Forest were manned by soldiers from the Army Air Corp 24 hours a day. The newest tower was constructed as a gift for the community for recreational purposes including hiking and mountain biking with an intricate trail system.
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