MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Flagg Mountain Tower in Coosa County has been closed and in disrepair for the last 20 years, but today reopened to the public.

“Come on and join me, and let’s open these gates,” Gov. Kay Ivey said to State Forester Rick Oates before opening the long-shuttered tower.

The tower was first built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a fire lookout. Thanks to funding from nonprofit groups and the legislature, it’s no longer closed.

“It connects us with our past, and the tower is a symbol of Alabama’s history of rich natural resources and strength,” Ivey said.

For the first time in decades, dozens of visitors climbed the steps for a 360 degree view spanning miles.

“Here you can see all over the state even to Lookout Mountain, so it’s a special day today that we can open this to the public, it’s great economic impact for Coosa County and tourism for the state of Alabama,” Paul DeMarco with the Alabama Trails Foundation said.

DeMarco says the tower’s reopening and further plans to improve the Pinhoti Trail will make it a boon for tourism.

“Visitors are going to want to come here, start the Appalachian Mountains, and hike their way all up the Pinhoti trail, and this is a great way to start here in Coosa County in Alabama,” DeMarco said.

Ivey also called on the Forestry Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and U.S. Forest Service to continue preserving and maintaining the trail.

“I’d like to challenge the leaders of these three agencies to develop a proposed framework to manage this special resource called the Pinhoti trail,” Ivey said.

Coosa County resident Sheryl Borden says this was her first time atop the mountain, but she’ll be coming back.

“I haven’t had a chance to do so much since COVID and all, but this is a great opportunity to start and get back out and get healthy,” Borden said.

Flagg Mountain is part of the Weogufka State Forest and is the southernmost mountain in the Appalachian trail.