This observation point has been provided to facilitate public enjoyment of the unusual and interesting combination of historical and geological features nearby. The development was planned and supervised by the Willamette National Forest and constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps Company 927.
To the south are the Three Sisters bearing 17 glaciers, 2257 acres in extent and represent the largest glacial area so far south in the United States. The surrounding lava fields cover 65 square miles, they are among the youngest in the country. The land islands to the west are older earth surfaces surrounded by lavas that poured from Belknap Crater and Little Belknap to the north and near the center of the vast flood. The lavas south of the highway flowed chiefly from Cinder Cone.
The first travel route across the Cascade Range in this vicinity was an ancient Indian trail that followed the southern edge of the lava field north of the North Sister. Its first recorded use by white men was in 1862 when Felix Scott, Jr., a sub-Indian Agent, led a party eastward over it with cattle and supplies for the mining regions of Idaho. The route now closely followed by the present highway was discovered in 1866. The construction was then begun of a toll road, opened for travel in 1872. It became a free county road in 1898
and a state highway in 1917. The present Scott Trail follows the old wagon route. Sections of the old toll road may be viewed along the McKenzie Highway.
Dee Wright, for whom the observatory was named, was an old time forest officer, guide and packer, well known throughout the Cascade mountain country. He supervised the start of development work on this project but died before its completion.