Oregon Coast Lighthouse Update: Restorations and Reopenings
(Florence, Oregon) – The famed Heceta Head Lighthouse and Devil's Elbow State Park are mostly back open to the public, while the Cape Meares Lighthouse near Oceanside is still hurting for repairs.
Work started on the Heceta Head Lighthouse parking lot and trail back in August, on the central Oregon coast, shutting down the park and much of the parking lot. That is all back open now, although the lighthouse tower is still under a major restoration project which will keep it closed until late 2013 – another two years.
The US Forest Service (USFS) and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) partnered on the $340,000 project to stop flooding in the west parking lot, and move and improve the erosion-prone trail leading to the lighthouse. Funds came from the Federal Highways Heceta Head Enhancement Project.
The picturesque park is well known for its iconic lighthouse, known as among the most photographed lighthouses in the world. It's also famous for the beach and historic lighthouse keepers' bed and breakfast. A private concessionaire managed by the US Forest Service runs the bed and breakfast. The park welcomes more than 800,000 visitors each year.
On the north Oregon coast, the Cape Meares Lighthouse is still in a kind of limping mode after a major vandalism spree two years ago. The outside glass has been largely replaced, but other issues still remain with the delicate Fresnel lens. That has not been touched at all, in terms of renovation. Estimates are it will take about a half million dollars to repair the lens.
It was discovered early on that vibrations from the public walking up the stairway to the lens would put the remaining piece in peril, so the upper area of the lighthouse has been closed since early 2010 and remained so all summer. The lower area, including the gift shop and museum, were open this whole time.
The lighthouse lower area is still open to the public seven days a week, from 11 a.m. To 4 p.m., although it will close for the season at the end of October, to open up again in April.
A spokesman for the lighthouse said stabilization work on that upper area will begin then and hopefully the public will again be able to walk upstairs. This is only a stabilization of the stairway – not a complete repair, however.
The Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse is still accepting donations to help with the restoration. These can be sent to The Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse. PO Box 262. Netarts, OR 97143. More at http://capemeareslighthouse.org
Much of the work done so far has been funded by the Friends organization.
Below: the lighthouse in better days.
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