Lighthouses in Puget Sound and Lake Huron are latest transfers in program to preserve structures, increase public use and enjoyment
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the transfer of two historic lighthouses in Washington and Michigan to local partners under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA). The Point No Point Light Station on Puget Sound will be transferred to the municipal government of Kitsap County, Washington, while the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Association, a Michigan non-profit organization, will take ownership of the Port Austin Light Station on Lake Huron.
“These lighthouses are a significant part of the maritime history of Puget Sound and Lake Huron,” Secretary Salazar said. “I commend Kitsap County and the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Association for their interest and ability to preserve and maintain these historic icons for the educational and cultural benefit of future generations.”
The NHLPA was enacted in 2000 as a means to transfer historic light stations no longer occupied by the Coast Guard to any federal, state or local agency, nonprofit, or community development organization that can best protect them and guarantee their preservation and continued public use. New owners must demonstrate that the lighthouse will be used for recreation or educational purposes. A model for 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, ensuring that the public can continue to enjoy these valued places.
“The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act is a tremendous public-private partnership that will not only preserve the lighthouses, but continue to provide for public enjoyment of this important part of our nation's maritime history,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
The Point No Point Light Station is the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound, and several of its original buildings are still intact. It features a square light tower, fog signal building, oil house and nearby keeper's quarters. Local interest in the lighthouse park is strong, and Kitsap County has formed a partnership with the United States Lighthouse Society to maintain and interpret the site. The light station was recently rehabilitated with a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express. The Point No Point Light Station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The lighthouse has been in continuous operation providing navigational aids since its completion in 1879.
The Port Austin Light Station, constructed in 1899 on top of a reef in Lake Huron, is a sixty foot tall, square, brick tower that sits atop a concrete platform 1.3 miles off of the shoreline. The Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Association's application provided a concise preservation and public use plan for the lighthouse, which has long served as an important aid to navigation in the shipping lanes of Lake Huron. The Port Austin Light Station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.
The National Park Service reviewed applications for the Point No Point Light Station and the Port Austin Light Station to ensure that the recipient organizations have feasible and appropriate preservation and public use plans. Secretary Salazar made the final decision on disposition of the lighthouses as called for under NHLPA.
For more information on the NHLPA, please visit http://www.nps.gov/maritime/nhlpa/nhlpa.htm