News Release 12-099
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Sandy Mealing, (360) 902-8559
Hilary Schult, (360) 902-8604
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388
North Head Lighthouse officially transferred to Washington State Parks
Nov. 19, 2012 –
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces the official transfer of ownership of the North Head Lighthouse to State Parks from the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park in Pacific County recently was transferred to the ownership of State Parks after a nearly 19-year process between the USCG and State Parks. Congress approved the transfer of the lighthouse in 1993, however, lead-based paint contaminated soil around the lighthouse prevented the title transfer from occurring. Federal law requires any federal agency transferring real property out of federal ownership to be certified that all remedial action to protect human health and the environment has been taken. With soil cleanup and the transfer completed, State Parks now will be working to restore the 114-year-old lighthouse with the support of the Keepers of the North Head Lighthouse.
“The North Head Lighthouse is an icon and historical landmark. We are very thankful to now be the official caretakers and owners of this national treasure. And we look forward to the continued support and partnership of our friends’ groups,” said State Parks Director Don Hoch.
The Washington State Department of Ecology and State Parks proposed a plan to facilitate the cleanup. The plan was approved and work began in October 2011 to remove the lead-based paint contaminated soil.
While the agencies worked through the clean-up and transfer process, the USCG and State Parks entered a lease agreement allowing State Parks to maintain and perform minor restoration work on the lighthouse. In 2009, the Keepers of the North Head Lighthouse formed and partnered with the Friends of the Columbia River Gateway and State Parks to restore the North Head Lighthouse. With funding tight for state parks, volunteers were interested in raising public awareness about the lighthouse and spearheading efforts to repair it. The Keepers of the North Head Lighthouse began raising funds and in-kind donations for lighthouse repair work through direct donations, merchandise sales, events and Lighthouse Environmental Program (LEP) grants in 2010 and 2011. With the title transfer official, the Keepers will to continue to apply for LEP funds to support future restoration efforts.
On May 16, 1898, the North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigational aid at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse had served this function since 1856; however, ships continued to run aground at the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” Due to the sheer number of shipwrecks, it was determined a second lighthouse was needed on the northwestern spur of Cape Disappointment, commonly referred to as North Head. With all of the original buildings associated with the station still standing, the North Head Lighthouse is the most intact lighthouse reservation in the Pacific Northwest.
The North Head Lighthouse is open for tours from May to September. Tours of the lighthouse lantern room are provided by State Parks volunteers. Hours for lantern room tours vary seasonally. Tour admission is $2.50 per adult and free for ages 7 to 17. For more information about spring and summer tours or about volunteering at the lighthouse, call the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at (360) 642–3029.
Cape Disappointment State Park is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean and lying along the Columbia River. The park offers two miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, hiking trails and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. As part of a larger art installation, the park also features the Confluence Project amphitheater, designed by world-renowned architect and artist, Maya Lin.
Stay connected to your state parks by following Washington State Parks at www.facebook.com/WashingtonStateParks, www.twitter.com/WaStatePks_NEWS and www.youtube.com/WashingtonStateParks. Share your favorite state park adventure on the new State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.
The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 99-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.