Mountaintop Flag to Fly in Lincoln County — with Conditions

U.S. Forest Service will issue permit to fly American flag on Northwest Peak when people are present

By Justin Franz
The flag at Northwest Peak. Photo courtesy of Bob Hosea.

The U.S. Forest Service will issue a permit to two Lincoln County men to fly the American flag atop Northwest Peak, a remote summit south of the Canadian border. But the permit will require the flag to be lowered whenever someone is not on the mountain.

For the last five years, Bob Hosea and Tom Horelick have flown a flag at the Northwest Peak fire lookout, but this year the Forest Service told them they couldn’t after they had received complaints. The story made rounds on social media and quickly prompted hundreds of Facebook comments and shares.

The complaints about the flag could be sorted into two categories: those who are against the flag’s presence and those who believe the flag itself is being disrespected. The former group believes the flag detracts from the natural landscape, and because Northwest Peak is a scenic area, a bright red, white and blue flag should not be prominently displayed. The other group believes it is disrespectful to put up a flag up in such harsh conditions.

Earlier this month, U.S. Forest Service officials said they were not going to issue a permit for the flag again because there were a number of other issues that needed to be addressed, specifically with how the flag was flown. Because it was on federal land, and next to a federally owned building, USFS said it needed to follow appropriate flag etiquette. Besides being lit at night, the flag also needed to be lowered whenever there was a proclamation from the president.

To address that concern, the Forest Service has told Hosea that they would issue a permit to fly the flag but that it could only be flown when someone was on the summit. Hosea said he wishes the flag could be flown at all times but that for now he will take what he can get.

“At least the flag can still be flown up on the mountain,” he said. “We’re happy about that.”

Hosea said he plans on building a box for the flag on top of the mountain that will include instructions on how to fly and fold the flag.