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Updated October 5th, 2006


September 28th, 2006

Levin Provision That Will Help Lighthouses Will Be Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON - A Senate-passed amendment sponsored by Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., to add nonprofit organizations that care for lighthouses to the list of eligible recipients of federal surplus property was approved by the House of Representatives this week. With this change, nonprofit organizations that own or lease decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard lighthouses will be eligible to obtain surplus federal government property. The Levin amendment was included in the General Services Administration (GSA) Modernization Act, which will be sent to the White House for the President’s signature.

“Michigan has an enduring love affair with lighthouses,” said Levin. “These historical treasures beckon us to remember the past while challenging us to preserve them for the future. Many Michigan non-profit organizations have taken on the responsibility of caring for these lighthouses, but the necessary resources for their restoration and maintenance are often in short supply. With the passage of this legislation, these organizations will get an invaluable boost in their efforts to preserve our beloved lighthouses.”

Current GSA regulations allow public or nonprofit museums to receive surplus federal property provided that the groups meet certain criteria, including a requirement that eligible museums be open for 1,000 hours, or about half of the year. However, this requirement is not realistic for many museum lighthouses that are located on an island, a rock, or in waters that are only reachable during the summer. Historic lighthouses that have yet to be restored by nonprofits are also ineligible to receive surplus property under current law because they are not museums yet. The Levin amendment adds nonprofit organizations restoring or maintaining historic lighthouses to the GSA list of entities eligible to receive surplus federal property.

Examples of some of the surplus federal property that would be available for free to these nonprofit organizations include desks, chairs, filing cabinets, paint, cement, drywall, generators and other building materials to help in the process of restoring and maintaining the historic lighthouses. Surplus Coast Guard vessels and small inflatable boats could also be available, which would be very useful for those nonprofit groups maintaining offshore lighthouses. Of the more than 120 lighthouses in Michigan, 42 are owned or leased by nonprofit organizations.

In 2000, Levin authored the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act with former Senator Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, which expedited the GSA process of transferring ownership of lighthouses from the U.S. Coast Guard to nonprofit historical societies. This act has helped preserve many lighthouses and kept them accessible to the public.


July 17th, 2006

Catch a Bus to Big Sable Lighthouse at Ludington State Park

State recreation officials announced visitors to Ludington State Park will be able to catch a bus ride to the Big Sable Lighthouse Saturday, July 22, the second of three bus days this summer.

The Big Sable Lighthouse Keepers Association and the Ludington Area Mass Transit Authority offer rides along the 1.5-mile route to the lighthouse for just $2 per person, maximum of $10 per family. The buses will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A third bus day is set for Sept. 16.

“This is an excellent opportunity for persons with disabilities or those preferring not to walk to visit this Michigan landmark,” said Mike Mullen, manager of Ludington State Park.

Construction of the 112-foot light tower began in early 1867. The metal cladding and painted stripes of black and white were added in 1900 to help prevent deterioration of the brick and mortar structure. Owned by the DNR, the lighthouse is maintained and operated by the nonprofit Big Sable Lighthouse Keepers Association, which offers a volunteer keepers’ program for individuals to live and work at this historic structure.

Ludington State Park, located eight miles north of Ludington, includes 5,300 acres of scenic sand dunes, shoreline vista, ponds, marshlands and forests situated between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan with several miles of shoreline and beaches on both bodies of water.

All motor vehicles entering a Michigan state park or recreation area must display a Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the recreation area entrance. Cost is $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily. A nonresident annual is $29 and a nonresident daily is $8.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources for current and future generations.

CONTACTS: Mike Mullen 231-843-2423 or Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014


July 13th, 2006

Gull Rock Lighthouse Needs A Little Boost

A deadline is fast approaching to raise funds for a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Grant in which an addition $2,400.00 is urgently needed before the grant application deadline of August 1st. This will allow Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and Gull Rock Lightkeepers to replace the roof on the lighthouse to help start some interior restoration. By raising these additional funds we will be eligible for $20,000!

Please send donations now: If you would like to e-mail us to let us know it is on its way, please feel free.

Gull Rock Lightkeepers                Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy - Gull Rock
P.O. Box 126                              P.O. Box 973
Copper Harbor, MI. 49918         Fenton, MI. 48430

Contact Peter Annin


July 13th, 2006

Winter 2005 & Spring 2006 Storms Wreak Havoc on Crisp Point Lighthouse

During November of 2005, some of the most powerful storms to hit this region of Lake Superior took place. Tons of sand to the East of the lighthouse was moved to another location and the lighthouse has gained sand on the West side of it where it has always been in short supply. As a result of these storms, considerable damage was done to the ramp leading to the beach from the East end of the boardwalk. Also damage was done to a stone wall that protects the boardwalk. On Memorial day of 2006 another storm hit the area which caused more damage to the East ramp and it was blown or washed about a one mile away from the lighthouse. On a positive note, over the Memorial Day weekend in 2006, new windows were installed in the lighthouse to keep moisture out.

A Boardwalk Fund has been established to make repairs. Donations can be sent to the following:

C.P.L.H.S. Boardwalk Fund                 C.P.L.H.S.
C/O Rick Brockway                             P.O. Box 229
450 W. Marr Rd.                                  Paradise, MI. 49768
Howell, MI. 48855                               Standard Mailing Address

July 10th, 2006

Grand Traverse Lighthouse Seeking Funds

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse located in Northport Michigan at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula has served mariners since 1858. The lighthouse has been restored and has been open for visitors for approximately 20 years, during which time it has been run by a nonprofit, but owned by the State of Michigan. The lighthouse, fog signal building have been restored and electrical systems upgrades and so forth. Overall a great achievement.

Like all houses, especially lighthouses, repairs and maintenance are required over time. With most lighthouse being in open exposed locations they face tougher challenges with exterior maintenance. Interior maintenance because of moisture is also a big concern and this is where help is needed now.

A structural assessment had been done in the past few years and it was determined that the floor joists need to be replaced as well as site work to help drain water away from the foundation. What is required to make this repair and keep the beacon shining for another 100!

Right now they need $45,000 total to get the project going. So far $10,000 has been raised, which includes a $7,500 grant from the Les and Anne Biederman Foundation. At least another $10,000 is needed so that a matching grant being sought from the State of Michigan for the remaining funds will complete the fund needed for the repairs.

For more information on how you can help or to donate money, please call or e-mail Stefanie Staley at 231-386-7195 or mail donations directly to:

Grand Traverse
Lighthouse Museum

PO Box 43
Northport, MI 49670


June 7, 2006

The State Historic Preservation Office is pleased to announce the availability of fiscal year 2007 Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant applications.

Funds are available for both planning and restoration activities. Grant applications must be postmarked no later than August 1, 2006. Copies of the grant manual and application materials can be found on our web page at, then under the SHPO Programs heading, click on Michigan LighthouseAssistance Program.

If your lighthouse affiliation has changed and you would like to update us with your new affiliation, please email Todd Walsh at
Questions about the grant application or the grant process can be directed to Denise J. Sachau, Grants Manager/Budget Analyst at or (517) 373-1904.

As a reminder, you can contribute to the future of Michigan’s historic lighthouses by purchasing a Michigan lighthouse license plate. You can find more information on the lighthouse license plate at the Secretary of State web page at , then click on Owning A Vehicle, then License
Plate Store, and then on Fundraising License Plates. The proceeds from the sale of lighthouse license plates are used to assist in the restoration of Michigan’s lighthouses.


Recent Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Grants Awarded


Since the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program was established in 1999, the State Historic Preservation Office has awarded grants annually to promote the preservation of these historic maritime buildings. Below is a complete list of recipients, as well as the amount of assistance money awarded.


2006 Grant Recipients


In November 2005, $105,392 in grants was awarded to the following lighthouses:

  • Beaver Island St. James Light Tower, St. James Township ($16,000)
  • Fort Gratiot Light Station, Port Huron Museum of Arts and History ($40,000)
  • Gull Rock Lighthouse, Gull Rock Lightkeepers ($6,700)
  • Ontonagon Lighthouse, Ontonagon County Historical Society ($6,325)
  • Point Betsie Light Station, Benzie County ($36,367)


If any lighthouse group has any special promotional events coming up please e-mail us and we will post them here.

Copyright © 2001-2010 Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/15/11.