Dear Editor Harrison:
I couldn’t agree more with your July/August 2015 “Wickie’s Wisdom” editorial. As a long-time subscriber to your excellent magazine, I have sometimes been appalled at the high-handed way the Coast Guard deals with—and has dealt with—its lighthouses and artifacts. In my humble opinion, the Government’s moving lighthouse business out from under the Lighthouse Service was NOT a wise one. The Coast Guard’s Mission is as a military organization, not as a minder of lighthouses. While the main interest and purpose of the Lighthouse Service was lighthouses, the Coast Guard’s is not.
Time after time, I have read in your publication of arbitrary decisions by the Coast Guard to destroy buildings at lighthouse stations that would have been priceless pieces of our maritime history. Now, they dictate to preservation groups what, when and where they can operate and at what cost. This is despicable! A good case in point was the brouhaha over the first order lens (from Cape Mendicino) at Ferndale, California. Back in the Forties, the Coast Guard couldn’t have been less interested in preserving the lens when they abandoned the lighthouse and its lens. Ferndale stepped up and took responsibility for its preservation over six decades, only to have the Coast Guard give them a hard time over where they had been keeping it. Bottom line: move it to storage or break the bank (for Ferndale) in exorbitant insurance fees. Unconscionable!
Not to put too fine a point on the issue as to whom the ownership of lighthouse artifacts belongs, the Coast Guard exists solely due to the money provided by U. S. taxpayers. Thus, ownership of ANY Coast Guard property rightly belongs to US! Where do they (and the Federal Government) get off dictating to us how to dispose of and insure formerly discarded and abandoned lighthouse artifacts? This is yet another example of government encroachment into the lives of its citizens and it has to stop.
Perhaps it’s time to move lighthouses under the umbrella of another lighthouse service once again, an organization dedicated to the preservation, maintenance and operation of lighthouse business. It wouldn’t have to be large, nor would it require much taxpayer money. It could be more of a clearinghouse for lighthouse organizations and organizational business, making the path smoother for such organizations to raise monies and preserve lighthouses and lighthouse artifacts. In addition, removing such responsibility from the Coast Guard would streamline their mission and save billions.
Dear Mr. Harrison;
I am responding to your editorial in July/August Lighthouse Digest. I am shocked and very disappointed that the Coast Guard would spend one minute endeavoring to lay claim to items as you say were "tossed" by Coast Guard years ago. Really, don't they have better things to spend their time/money/energy on?
I truly wish we as a nation could get back to common sense management.
Thanks for all your hard work towards preserving our lighthouse history.
Climbing Crisp Point
Dear Mr. Harrison:
I am 81 years old, and I just climbed Michigan’s Crisp Point Lighthouse.
In 2002, after reading about the lighthouse in Lighthouse Digest, my husband and I ventured down Road 500. After 20 miles, filled with misgivings, we found the most beautiful spot with its gorgeous lighthouse. Recently, while camping in the area, I whited the interest of my son and his wife to attempt the trip down the same dirt road and what we found was an amazing accomplishment by dedicated volunteers. It is truly a very special spot and we are now determined to return.
My apartment is filled with lighthouse replicas of those that my husband and I visited and climbed. This is not to mention that we lived for many years across the street from Lake Michigan’s Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse, so lighthouses are in my blood.
However, at my age I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity or oomph to climb another one.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2015 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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