Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2020

USFWS Wants to Demolish Buildings at Huron Island Lightstation

Public Comments Sought


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Huron Island Lighthouse, Michigan.
Photo by: Tammy Wolfe

As part of its draft for a Cultural Resources Management Plan and Environmental Assessment for Lighthouse Island of Michigan’s Huron National Wildlife Refuge in Lake Superior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is now asking for public comment on its plans to demolish the fog signal building, boat house, and Coast Guard barracks, at Michigan’s Huron Island Lighthouse.

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The 1898 fog signal building at Michigan’s Huron ...

The plan indicates that they (USFWS) will maintain the current mothballing efforts, which have basically allowed the buildings to continue to deteriorate. The 1877 lighthouse, the assistant keeper’s house, the privy, the 1896 oil house, the dock, and the pathway will remain as is, but the 1898 fog signal building, the boathouse, and the Coast Guard barracks will be demolished.

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The boathouse at Michigan’s Huron Island ...

The only real work done at Huron Island Lighthouse for many years was the replacement of the roof on the keepers quarters of the lighthouse, which took place after seven grueling years of fundraising that was accomplished and completed in 2006 through the efforts of the Huron Island Lighthouse Preservation Association.

The major obstacle to saving the light station is its location. The Huron Island Lighthouse is situated on an island that is about three miles off-shore from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and, unless you have your own boat, it is not easily accessible to the general public. In fact, just to demolish the buildings would be costly and difficult.

Because chunks of the cement-walled boathouse are beginning to fall on the walkway, the boathouse may have to be demolished to allow for safe and easy access to the island. We can also understand the reasoning behind the planned demolition of the Coast Guard barracks, which because of its age, is not historically significant.

However, the fog signal building is of major importance to the historical integrity of the light station and it must not be allowed to be demolished. It must be saved. We can think of numerous uses for it on an island that is designated as a wildlife sanctuary.

Public comments can be made by email to Sara_Siekierski@fws.gov or by mail to:

Sara Siekierski

Refuge Manager

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Seney National Wildlife Refuge 

1674 Refuge Entrance Road

Seney, Michigan 49883

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2020 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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