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November 12, 2009

Department of Environmental Quality

State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality 


    DeTour Reef Lighthouse        Harbor Beach Lighthouse

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Lighthouse Alliance Announce Breakthrough Bottomlands Use Agreement for Offshore Lighthouses

MDEQ Contact: Robert McCann 517 373 7917

MLA Contact: Buzz Hoerr 802 734 1621

DeTour Reef Contact: Clif Haley 906 493 5806

November 12, 2009

Lansing, MI- Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance (MLA) announced today they had finalized a landmark bottomlands use agreement to facilitate the transfer of offshore lighthouses to private groups and local government entities dedicated to preserving the lighthouses and ensuring public access to them.

Two prominent offshore lighthouse groups, Detour Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society and Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society, participated in the months of negotiations as potential direct beneficiaries of the agreement.

“I am prepared to recommend to our DRLPS Board that the agreement we have successfully negotiated is one we sign so we can finally receive the lighthouse we have worked many years to restore and maintain.” said Clif Haley of Drummond Island, DRLPS Board member and a key participant in the talks.

“We have reached agreement on all points and I will be recommending that the City of Harbor Beach sign this so the Society can achieve its ultimate goal of turning over our lighthouse to the residents of the area after 27 years of stewardship.” said Buzz Hoerr, President of the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance and the Harbor Beach Society. “These were challenging talks that culminated in a template that will serve as a basis for all other offshore lights in Michigan waters. Because this involves bottomlands owned by the people of Michigan it was important to get it right. It was the number one priority of the Alliance and it is great see it completed!”

Both Hoerr and Haley praised DEQ Maritime Culture Advisor Carol Linteau and the staff of the DEQ for their work to craft this agreement. “Carol kept things moving internally and brought a fresh perspective to a very complex issue” said Haley. “She and her colleagues wanted this to work to help save Michigan’s offshore lights and she helped us while protecting the interests of the people of Michigan” said Hoerr.

“Together we negotiated an agreement that protects the bottomlands held in trust by Michigan citizens while making it as simple as possible for dedicated preservation groups to continue their critical work of protecting our lighthouses as precious symbols of Michigan’s maritime heritage,”  said Linteau. “We wish the MLA and these two local groups every success and look forward to providing assistance in the transfer process!”

The MLA represents lighthouse groups working on most of the more than 100 lighthouses found throughout the Great Lakes in Michigan. Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, the federal government is able to transfer ownership of lighthouse structures from the US Coast Guard by the General Services Administration to interested parties whose restoration and operational plans are approved by the National Park Service. The bottomlands use agreement was required because offshore lighthouses sit on state owned and managed bottomlands. The execution of this agreement will allow lighthouse stewards to continue their work after the federal government completes the transfers.

According to Hoerr, “The Alliance will now increase its focus on helping existing lighthouse stewardship groups find resources, increase membership, align with other lighthouses to jointly promote public access through tours, and provide exchanges of technical information between members. We will host our third state conference in Traverse City in June 2010 when we hope to see DeTour and Harbor Beach lighthouses finally transferred to their new owners!”

“This agreement could not have been reached without the hard work and leadership provided by MLA’s Buzz Hoerr and DeTour’s Clif Haley and Dave Bardsley,” said Linteau.  “I also want to recognize the assistance provided by the State Historic Preservation Office, key the DEQ staff, and several assistant Attorneys General who advise our agencies.  I truly look forward to the June MLA conference.   We have much to celebrate, and much to accomplish in the future.   We move forward as effective partners for lighthouse preservation in the State of Michigan.” 


August 2009




With more than 120 lighthouses dotting its coastline, Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state. The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History is paying tribute to this proud history through an exhibit on display at the Museum Annex on the first level of the former Jacobson’s department store at 201 S. Jefferson Avenue.


The exhibit features 150 large photographs taken by John Wagner, an East Lansing pilot who took the photos while leaning from his single engine Cessna. Mr. Wagner has authored a book documenting his experiences taking these breathtaking photographs, called “Michigan Lighthouses: An Aerial Photographic Perspective”.


On Tuesday, May 26th, Mr. Wagner will be the featured speaker at the Museum’s Lunch and Learn series, which begins at Noon with dessert and beverage provided. This event is free with general admission.


In addition to Mr. Wagner’s work, visitors can explore artifacts from the Michigan Maritime Museum, which makes up the core of the lighthouse exhibit. Other artifacts are on loan from the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society, the group involved in preservation of our nearest lighthouse, the Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse. There also are items on loan from the Smithsonian Institute and private collections.


To commemorate Saginaw’s connection to lighthouse history, museum volunteer John Heintz has constructed a large-scale model of the Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse that also is on display. Mr. Heintz has spent many hours recreating the building to give visitors a glimpse of what the lighthouse looked like years ago.


There is a full calendar of events planned around this exhibit, which will be on display until October 31.


Coming up is a private luncheon cruise aboard the schooner Appledore from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, June 15th. Reservations are required for this event. Please call Sandy Schwan at 752-2861, Ext. 309 for details. Participants will be able to view the lighthouse at the mouth of the Saginaw Bay. Cost is $47 for Historical Society of Saginaw County members and $55 for non-members.


From July 20 through September 12 we will welcome a traveling exhibit called Ladies of the Light, which will tell the story of women lighthouse keepers in Michigan and be incorporated into the Lighthouse Exhibit. Ladies of the Light is from the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame.


The Castle Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is located at 500 Federal Avenue in the central Saginaw area. The phone number is 752-2861. The website is


The Castle Museum is committed to serve the community by telling the continuing story of the people of the Saginaw region through exploration, preservation, and presentation of their historical and cultural heritage.

For more information, contact Irene Hensinger at (989) 752-2861, Ext. 301 or


News Release Date: Aug. 11, 2009
Contact: Lt. j.g. Juan Carlos Avila
(906) 635-3227, phone


Coast Guard dedicates new facility for historic Station Marquette

MARQUETTE, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Station Marquette will commission its new station and boathouse on Lakeshore Boulevard during a dedication ceremony with Rep. Bart Stupak in attendance Thursday, August 13, at 3 p.m.
The new station will incorporate the finest of modern architecture and technology, and it will be among the first Department of Homeland Security facilities to earn the coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for green buildings. 
Using geo-thermal energy tapped from thirteen nearby wells for heating and cooling, the six-thousand square-foot building was designed to be eco-friendly by recycling wastewater for other uses throughout the building and on the building’s grounds. 
The new station will be named for Capt. Henry Cleary, the station’s first keeper and developer of the nation’s first motorized lifeboat. Capt. Cleary was also coxswain aboard the lifeboat used to rescue the crew of the Charles J. Kershaw
The current station was constructed in 1890 for the U.S. Life Saving Service, which later merged with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to form today’s Coast Guard
Station Marquette has played a critical role in preserving maritime safety in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and has been involved in a variety of dramatic rescues, including what has been called one of the greatest rescues on Lake Superior—the rescue of 13 crewmembers from the grounded Steamer Charles J. Kershaw in 1895.  
The station has continued its impressive legacy, more recently during its 2003 response to flooding along the Dead River, the rescue of a stranded surfer in February 2009, and numerous other dramatic search and rescue operations.
Other guests of distinction who are scheduled to attend are Rear Adm. Steven E. Day, Deputy Commander for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs and Rear Adm. Peter V. Neffenger, Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. A brief reception and refreshments will follow the ceremony.
The station is located at 294 Lakeshore Blvd.
For further media inquiries, contact the Public Affairs Officer for Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Lt. j.g. Juan Carlos Avila, at (906) 635-3277.


Saving Lives and Guarding the Coast Since 1790.
The United States Coast Guard: Proud History.  Powerful Future.


Michigan Lighthouses Up For Grabs in 2009
May 7th, 2009

Please see the following web site for the 2009 Michigan Lighthouse Notices of Availability. Included are the following Michigan lighthouses that will be made available to any qualified organization under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. If any of them do not receive a qualified application, they will be auctioned off and sold.
  • Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner and Entrance Lighthouses
  • Waugoshance Lighthouse
  • Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

Please see this web page for more information on the application process.



Dear fellow lighthouse stewards and aficionados,


As you will see below, along with support from Senators Snow, Stabenow, Collins and Schumer, Michigan Senator Carl Levin formally announced his intention to introduce the National Lighthouse Stewardship Act of 2009 in the Senate yesterday. This Act serves as a compliment to NHLPA 2000, and proposes the establishment of a pilot program that would “enable state and nonprofit groups to apply for competitive grants to help with restoration and maintenance efforts. This pilot program would authorize the secretary to distribute $20 million a year for three years.”


This program would consist of direct grants requiring no matching funds, with the grants able to serve as a match for other grants. As such, there is no need for explanation how the passage of this Act would serve as an immense benefit to the nation’s nonprofit lighthouse stewards.


Since Senator Levin’s announcement in the Senate yesterday, the Bill has been assigned Senate Bill number s715.


We strongly recommend that you not only contact your appropriate Legislators as soon as possible to voice your support of the passage of Senate bill s715, but also make all of the lighthouse stewards and aficionados in your contact databases aware of this impending Bill and ask that they do likewise.


Pulling together, we can raise awareness of support for the passage of this legislation, and help ensure its successful passage. Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you feel may be interested and supportive in this cause.

March 26, 2009
Contact: Senator Levin's Office
Phone: 202.224.6221

Senate Floor Statement on Introduction of the National Lighthouse Stewardship Act

Today, with Senators Snowe, Stabenow, Collins and Schumer, I introduce The National Lighthouse Stewardship Act. This legislation creates a three year competitive grant program at the Department of the Interior that will help to pay for the preservation and rehabilitation of historic lighthouses in Michigan and across the country. The grants will help nonprofit organizations, which serve as caretakers for these historic landmarks, to help them preserve and rehabilitate the historic lighthouses and keep them accessible to the public.

This legislation compliments a bill that was enacted in October 2000, the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, which I joined Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK) in offering. With the Coast Guard getting out of the light house business, the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act helped facilitate the process of transferring historic lighthouses from the government to non-profit historical organizations who would take over the responsibility for their care. It established an expedited process through the Government Services Agency to help ease lighthouse transfers by helping to cut through the bureaucratic red tape. As a result of the law, 46 lighthouses to date --- nine in Michigan --- have been transferred to custodians who will preserve them and keep them accessible to the public.

Many of these lighthouse structures are in need of significant repair and rehabilitation, which is now the responsibility of their nonprofit custodians. Unfortunately, after obtaining custody of the lighthouses, many of the nonprofit organizations have struggled to raise the funds to adequately restore and maintain the lighthouses. To address this problem our legislation establishes a pilot program that would enable state and nonprofit groups to apply for competitive grants to help with restoration and maintenance efforts. This pilot program would authorize the secretary to distribute $20 million a year for three years.

Funding for Lighthouse restoration is important to Michigan and to the nation’s historic preservation efforts. There are approximately 740 lighthouses in 31 costal states. Michigan alone has over 120 lighthouses, more than any other state. They draw thousands of visitors to Michigan and other states each year and create jobs throughout our states. Michigan’s and the nation’s lighthouses are national treasures that beautify our shorelines. These historic lighthouses are part of our nation’s rich maritime heritage. The grants are needed to help nonprofit organizations, which serve as caretakers for the historic landmarks, to maintain the beauty of the lighthouses and keep them accessible to the public.

My office worked closely with lighthouse preservation groups in drafting this legislation. The Michigan Lighthouse Fund in my home state was invaluable in providing information on the needs of our nation’s lighthouses. This week in Washington, the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee is meeting to coincide with the introduction of this Act. These funds are desperately needed by these groups who work tirelessly to preserve our Nation’s maritime heritage.

This funding would help ensure our lighthouses remain cultural beacons for generations to come. America’s lighthouses are national treasures that we cannot let deteriorate to the point beyond repair. I hope my colleagues will support the swift enactment of the National Lighthouse Stewardship Act.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to include in the Record the following letters from lighthouse organizations in support of this legislation.

March 2009

Recent Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Grants

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.

2009 Grants

In March 2009, $79,048 was awarded to the following lighthouses. A press release describing these awards is also available.

This year all applications were funded. Fiscal Year 2009 Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant recipients include the following projects. These awards are pending approval of the State Administrative Board.

  • Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse, Charlevoix Historical Society ($29,666) 
    This lighthouse ownership was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the city of Charlevoix in June 2008. The Charlevoix Historical Society will use its fourth grant to repaint the interior of the lighthouse, including surface preparation and lead paint abatement. Previous MLAP grants assisted with ventilation and exterior rehabilitation and painting.
  • South Fox Island Lighthouse, Fox Island Lighthouse Association ($16,666) 
    The South Fox Island Lighthouse is owned by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The Fox Island Lighthouse Association will use the MLAP grant to hire a consultant to prepare a Historic Structures Report for the lighthouse building.
  • Gull Rock Lighthouse, Gull Rock Lightkeepers ($24,000) 
    The Gull Rock Lightkeepers own the lighthouse. They will hire a consultant to prepare plans, specifications, and a cost estimate to rehabilitate the interior of the lighthouse. This is the lightkeepers' third grant. Previous grants assisted in replacing the roof.
  • Manitou Island Lighthouse, Keweenaw Land Trust ($8,716) 
    The Keweenaw Land Trust owns the Manitou Island Light Station. Because of its remote location, docks are needed to get materials to the lighthouse for the ongoing rehabilitation project. The 2009 grant, the lighthouse's third, will help pay for materials to stabilize the historic dock, located three-quarters of a mile from the lighthouse; clearing of a foot trail between the dock and the lighthouse; and purchase and installation of a portable dock that can be anchored to the existing pilings of a former dock once located near the lighthouse.

Tawas Point Lighthouse Offering a Unique Summer Adventure
March 5th, 2009

The Department of Natural Resources today announced that Tawas Point
Lighthouse is seeking lighthouse keepers for one- or two-week stays
during the 2009 season.

During the one- or two-week stay, lighthouse keepers will be
responsible for a variety of duties including greeting guests, providing
information about the history of the lighthouse, helping in the gift
shop and taking care of the various artifacts located in the lighthouse
museum. Training is provided on-site upon arrival.

Lighthouse keepers will stay in the newly renovated lighthouse
keeper’s quarters on the second floor of the Tawas Point Lighthouse
residence.  The quarters come fully-equipped and have a modern kitchen,
two bedrooms and a modern bath.

This “edu-vacation” is a wonderful “GO-Get Outdoors” working
and learning experience for anyone interested in experiencing the
historic lifestyle of a lighthouse keeper, but with modern lodging
amenities. The cost for this program is $225 per person, per week.  Up
to three people can participate and stay in the lighthouse residence at
one time.

The Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program runs from March 1 to Dec. 31.
There is limited availability, so sign up soon.

The lighthouse residence is located within Tawas Point State Park at
686 Tawas Beach Rd., two and one-half miles southeast of East Tawas.
For more information about this program or to receive an application to
participate in the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program, contact the
Tawas Point Lighthouse Museum Store at 989-362-5658 or Tawas Point State
Park at 989-362-5041.  For more information about the park,
accessibility or accommodations, contact the park (or TTY/TDD711
Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired), or visit the Web site

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

Join the DNR in celebrating the 90th anniversary of Michigan State
Parks this year. Activities are planned throughout the year. For more
information, visit

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


January 2009

MLC submitted application for the Muskegon lighthouses under the NLHPA

The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy submitted its application under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 for the Muskegon South Breakwater and Pierhead lighthouses. This process allows nonprofits to obtain the lighthouse for free through a competitive application process. We filled out our application and submitted it in the winter of 2008 and feel we will be successful in obtaining these lights. We are waiting on the National Park Service's Review Committee to comment on the application in their process at this time. Once this happens, we will be asked for clarifications and then submit those for the final review. These lights are in need of of maintenance, which will require donations and fundraising.

All that remains of the lighthouse today are the individual towers as the keepers residence was torn down back in the early 1970's to make way for a new US Coast Guard station. Over the years the areas lighthouses, breakwaters and piers have changed quite a bit. If you are interested in offering any services for these lights, please contact us.

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.