We call it the Tower of Doom here on RFTNS because everybody knows the doom-and-gloomers get more blog reads than the happy people. But truth be told, its not a Tower of Doom, its a Tower of Life. There is a lot of history to this thing.
Built back in 1974 when I myself was just a wee eyas, it is one of the original “hacking towers”. Hacking is the process of reintroducing Peregrine Falcons into the wild using captive bred birds; a move that was necessary after the species had all but been eliminated from the earth, and something I am eager to try with dinosaurs. Hacking is also the term used when a Peregrine talon-grabs your credit cards or iPhone.
The Tower was built in the backyard of the legendary Pete McLain, who lived out on Sedge Island and started the whole Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) in New Jersey which is now head by the Great Mother Of All Cool Things In NJ You Can’t Shoot With A Gun, Kathy Clark. Pete went all in and was a huge force in the Peregrine & Osprey restoration in NJ which continues today.
It turns out the Tower is a little bit of a Rite of Passage. Allegedly a few would-be conservationists have had their careers cut short when they refused to climb the Tower of Doom. Many folks have fond memories of their first climb. And I know why. In addition to being a great hazing ritual, there is something more important happening: standing a top the Tower, looking over Barnegat Bay, IBSP, and LBI, fuzzy & warm Peregrine chick in hand, watching the Osprey and adult Peregrine living rich lives in the distance, any questions you might have regarding the value of preserving our wildlife get answered immediately, and permanently.
Enjoy listening to Ben Wurst, our hero, explain the climb. Just remember that all you really hear when there on the ground is “blah blah blah blah you’re gonna die blah blah blah blah you’ll never get down”