The idea of a national lighthouse preservation fund has been tossed around for years. There's no doubt that it's needed; many lighthouse preservation groups are struggling to stay above water. A large number of these groups are caring for lighthouses that are still owned by the federal government, or lighthouses that have been recently transferred from the federal government. It's only fitting that some federal dollars should be put into them.
On March 26, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, along with Senators Snowe, Stabenow, Collins and Schumer, introduced the National Lighthouse Stewardship Act. This act compliments the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) of 2000, which facilitates the transfer of lighthouses to suitable new stewards. Under the NHLPA, some 46 lighthouses nationwide have been transferred to new owners. Many of these lighthouse are offshore and hard to access, and many are in dire need of restoration.
The pilot program proposed by Senator Levin would authorize $20 million a year for three years for the lighthouse stewardship fund. This isn't much, considering the large number of lighthouses that would be potential recipients. But every bit helps, and this would be a big step forward.
You can read Senator Levin's proposal at http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=310570. The bill has been assigned Senate Bill number s715.
By working together, lighthouse organizations and individual lighthouse aficionados can help make the National Lighthouse Stewardship Act a reality. Please contact your legislators and urge them to support this legislation, and let them know that you consider the preservation of our historic lighthouses to be a worthy and noble cause. And please spread the word to your friends who care about lighthouse preservation.