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Whaleback Lighthouse Transferred to ALF

Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Light to Maintain Whaleback

A Load of TrapWhaleback Lighthouse in Maine was transferred to the American Lighthouse Foundation and Friends of Porstmouth Harbor Lighthouse in a ceremony held at Portland Head Light on June 30. At the same time, Maine’s governor John Baldacci, in conjunction with the Maine Office of Tourism, the US Coast Guard and the American Lighthouse Foundation, announced the first ever Maine Open Lighthouse Day, to be held on Saturday, September 12. Fifty two of Maine’s lighthouses will be open for visiting. More on this below, but first about Whaleback, which will be among those open on that day.

The following video is courtesy of WCSH Channel 6. Newsletter subscribers, you’ll need to visit the page to view the video, but it is definitely worth it.


Open Lighthouse Day

Although it comes across at first as an oversized Lighthouse Challenge, that is not the intent of Maine’s first Open Lighthouse Day. Although you’ll be able to visit any of the lights listed below, not all are easily accessible and you will not be able to visit more than a few, if that. Maine is the origin of the phrase, “You can’t get there from here,” and it wasn’t until I moved out here that it really is so. Besides some of the lights being virtually inaccessible, you would have to arrange your own transportation out to visit, and the lack of landing spots on some of them will make it nearly impossible.

What this Day is meant to do, is to promote the state’s maritime history, and perhaps to garner some attention to the plight of our lighthouses. The Coast Guard will be conducting material surveys of all the lights and documenting what they find. The Coast Guard will take photographs, and along with the material condition, upload the data to a special website sometime after the event.

Of course, some lighthouses are easily accessible by car or ferry, and those should be the ones to target for a visit if you happen to be in Maine that weekend. But more importantly, it’s hoped that this is the start of a level of cooperation among the various entities, to cooperate in keeping our lighthouses for generations to come.

Lighthouse Alliances

At one time, Maine was a leader in lighthouse protection, by having started the Maine Lights Program, in which certain lighthouses were obtained and preserved. But it seems to have fallen by the wayside, and states like Michigan have done far more to promote their beacons. Every maritime state needs to consider following Michigan’s lead, such as starting something similar to the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance. The Alliance consists of a varied group with interests in lighthouses, including different lighthouse preservation groups, corporations, convention and visitors bureaus and more.

Michigan also has a Lighthouse Project, which is run by the State Historic Preservation Office and administers grants to lighthouse preservation groups. A lot of the money is derived from lighthouse license plate sales, which Maine is without. At one time, it was proposed as the newplate, and a design was ready, but at the last minute the (current) chickadee plate was selected.

If the plans for this go as well as is hoped, perhaps there will be more interest in forming and promoting one of the Three Ls of Maine Tourism : Lobsters, Lighthouses and L.L. Bean.

List of Lighthouses

The following are the lighthouses that will be open. More information is promised to come 52 days before the event. Remember, not all are easily accessible.

  • Downeast and Acadia Region
    • Baker Island Light
    • Bass Harbor Head Light
    • Burnt Coat Harbor Light
    • Deer Island Light
    • Egg Rock Light
    • Eagle Island Light
    • Great Duck Island
    • Libby Island Light
    • Litlle River Light
    • Lubec Channel Light
    • Moose Peak Light
    • Mount Desert Light
    • Petit Manan Light
    • Prospect Harbor Light
    • West Quoddy Head Light
  • Midcoast
    • Browns Head Light
    • Burnt Island Light
    • Cuckolds Light
    • Curtis Island Light
    • Dice Head Light
    • Doubling Point Light
    • Franklin Island Light
    • Fort Point Light
    • Goose Rocks Light
    • Grindel Point Light
    • Hendricks Head Light
    • Heron Neck Light
    • Isle Au Haut Light
    • Marshall Point Light
    • Matinicus Rock Light
    • Monhegan Light
    • Owls Head Light
    • Pemaquid Point Light
    • Perkins Island Light
    • Pond Island Light
    • Ram Island Light
    • Rockland Breakwater
    • Saddleback Ledge Light
    • Seguin Island Light
    • Squirrel Point Light
    • Two Bush Island Light
    • Whitehead Light
  • Portland & Casco Bay Region
    • Cape Elizabeth Light
    • Halfway Rock
    • Portland Head Light
    • Ram Island Ledge Light
    • Spring Point Light
  • The Beaches Region
    • Boon Island Light
    • Cape Neddick
    • Goat Island
    • Whaleback Light
    • Wood Island

Photo Credit: A Load of Trap by Brent Danley. Some rights reserved.

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