WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the transfer of three Michigan lighthouses -- South Haven South Pierhead, Middle Island and Waugoshance -- to local historical organizations under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA).
“These transfers to local nonprofit groups will help ensure that the lighthouses are well-cared for and their history is kept alive for generations to come,” Secretary Salazar said. “I commend these organizations for their willingness and ability to preserve and maintain these historic icons for public educational and cultural use.”
NHLPA was enacted in 2000 as a means to transfer historic light stations no longer in use by the Coast Guard out of federal hands while guaranteeing their preservation and public use. A model of inter-agency cooperation, the NHLPA program is a partnership between the Coast Guard, the General Services Administration, and the National Park Service. Since 2000, more than 60 historic light stations have been transferred at no cost to qualified entities.
The South Haven South Pierhead lighthouse will be transferred to the Historical Association of South Haven. The 37-foot-tall cast iron structure was constructed in 1903 and is located at the head of the pier marking the entrance from Lake Michigan to the city's harbor on the Black River.
The Middle Island Light, a brick tower seventy-one feet in height, marks shallows in Lake Huron between Presque Isle and Thunder Bay. The lighthouse is to be transferred to Middle Island Lightkeepers Association, Inc., a nonprofit that has leased the historic tower from the Coast Guard for more than 20 years.
The Waugoshance Lighthouse, located in Lake Michigan, is a brick and iron structure constructed in 1870 on a shoal west of Mackinaw City. This long-empty lighthouse, once used for target practice by the US Navy during WWII, is to be transferred to the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society.
Applications for the lighthouses were reviewed by the National Park Service to ensure that the organizations have feasible and appropriate preservation and public use plans. The Secretary of the Interior makes the final decision on the disposition of the lighthouses.
“The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act is an excellent mechanism to forge public-private partnerships for the preservation and continued public enjoyment of an important part of our nation's maritime history,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
Salazar has informed the Administrator of the General Services Administration to begin the process of transferring the lights to the organizations.
For more information on the NHLPA, please visit http://www.nps.gov/maritime/nhlpa/nhlpa.htm