Help Us Restore a Coastal Beacon

DSC_0299Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the oldest and most treasured landmarks on the California coast. Its first-order Fresnel lens, the most powerful lens of the day, was a marvel of high-tech design when it was first lit in 1872. For more than 140 years this strong, stunning beacon has guided passing ships and inspired millions of visitors from all over the world.

Unfortunately, after a lifetime of exposure to wind, rain, sun, fog, and salty sea mist, the 115-foot tower is literally crumbling. And recent structural failure compromises the tower’s integrity and makes complete rehabilitation critically necessary. Closed to the public since a portion of its iron belt course broke off in 2001, it may not stand for the years ahead without immediate action.

And the California State Park Foundation has stepped in to take that action. CSPF is spearheading a major fundraising campaign in partnership with California Department of Parks and Recreation to restore Pigeon Point Lighthouse to its original glory and give it a renewed future. And on March 21st, the Park Champions volunteer program will host a special volunteer workday at Pigeon Point. This workday will focus on habitat restoration projects to improve the plant and animal habitat surrounding the lighthouse, reinvigorating this stretch of the beautiful central San Mateo coast.

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This volunteer workday will take place Saturday, March 21st from 9:00 am – 1:30 pm. A tour of the lighthouse grounds and description of the restoration project will be lead by our very own Programs Manager Cecille Caterson. Lunch will be provided, and teens 16 and up are welcome with a legal guardian. To sign up for this workday, visit the Park Champions volunteer calendar.

Once this important landmark has been restored and reopened to the public, it will provide rich educational opportunities to hundreds of thousands of tourists, school children, and hostel guests who visit each year. The lens will once again dazzle us with its 24 beams of light; we hope you’ll join us in making it happen.

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A State Park Beacon

If you’ve ever laid eyes on Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, you know what an amazing state park this is. Thousands of others know it, too, as more than 100,000 people visit Pigeon Point each year.

But Pigeon Point has been in need of some TLC for quite some time. More than 100 years of severe coastal weather has taken a toll. In December 2001, a piece of Pigeon Point Lighthouse’s upper course iron belt broke, crashing 100 feet to the ground. For safety reasons, the Lighthouse Tower and Oil/Watch House are currently off-limits to visitors.

In an effort to turn things around for this beacon, CSPF has taken Pigeon Point on as a capital project, and is currently working to raise the significant public and private funding needed to complete the entire restoration. In an exciting first step, CSPF, in partnership with California State Parks, will begin the first phase of this historic project tomorrow! This will include removal and restoration of the Fresnel lens, interim stabilization of the upper tower and displaying the lens in the Fog Signal Building.

Workers are going to begin taking the First-order Fresnel Lens apart piece by piece. To remove it from the building, they will send pieces out the window on a zip line!

Project Day One Update from the Field

As we work to bring Pigeon Point back to all its splendor and glory, please consider donating so that the Pigeon Point Lighthouse can shine for another 100 years.