By Rob Holston
May 11, 2006
I have just come from the National Park Service web sight after doing research on the status of lighthouses being dispensed through the National Lighthouse Preservation Act.
I am disappointed at the misinformation and or lack of historical integrity displayed by the NPS web site. On a page under the sub title of HISTORY OF PROGRAM TO DATE, I find "Information on Pilot, National, 2004 and 2005 Programs." #4 is: "Pilot Program - Fall 2001 - Historic Light Stations & their Status." I click on this link, fully expecting to find the status of the Guard Island Lighthouse, just north of Ketchikan, Alaska. But NO! it's not there! No record of it having been on the first list of 19 lighthouses nationwide to have been listed on this Pilot Program way back in the fall of 2001. Why would the Park Service hide the facts of the original list????
Because of various agencies bickering, at the federal level, over this 10 acre island, located within the boundaries of the Tongass National Forest, Guard Island Lighthouse is not listed on the present National Park Service list because it would be an admission of failure. That is the only explanation I can come up with as I await further explanation.
The Park Service web site states that there were only nine light stations "excessed". This may be true, but can only be understood by the elite few who may be familiar with this USCG terminology. Being "excessed" is the term used by the USCG to designate those properties that have gone through USCG steps of giving up ownership that may include: demolition, removal, environmental clean-up, etc. on site. The truth of the mater is that the original list stated there were twenty lighthouses in the pilot program (actually only 19 ever showed up on the web site in early 2002) and Guard Island was on that list.
It appears the Park Service is attempting to make this program look more successful than it is, by ignoring the light stations on the original list that have thus far failed in being processed under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act.
Guard Island Heritage, Inc. is a recognized 501© (3) non-profit and has been active in this project since the Guard Island Lighthouse was on the original Pilot Program List. We are an organization with 1,000 members. We are well aware of the truthful history of Guard Island. We ask now two things. #1. The NPS be totally truthful on their web site, and #2. All agencies, especially the USFS and the NPS find an expedient way to process Guard Island Lighthouse under the authority of the National Lighthouse Preservation Act.
Robert B. Holston Jr.
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