Digest>Archives> August 2010

Coast Guard Wants Lens Out of Umpqua River


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The first order Fresnel lens in Umpqua River ...
Photo by: Linda Fisher

By Timothy Harrison

Proving once again that the Coast Guard, which does so much good but is also its own worst public relations enemy, wants to remove the magnificent Fresnel lens from Oregon’s Umpqua River Lighthouse.

Recently, the Coast Guard sent out a survey to local boaters to find out if they used the light or not. Naturally, with modern technology, fewer and fewer boaters depend on a beacon from a lighthouse. However, that survey did not ask if people would approve of the lens being removed from the tower, thereby destroying the historical significance of the lighthouse. I’m positive that if they had worded their questionnaire with those words, the responses would have been quite different.

While it’s nice to see a Fresnel lens on display in a museum, removing the few Fresnel lenses that are left in towers would be doing a great injustice to historic preservation, which so many of us have fought for so long. It would seem to us that the Coast Guard would have more important things to worry about. Hopefully, the Coast Guard will see the light and spend its time on more productive concerns.

That’s our opinion and we welcome yours.

This story appeared in the August 2010 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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