SEQUIM — The New Dungeness Lighthouse has been fully staffed and maintained through COVID-19 shutdowns and the temporary closure of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, according to the New Dungeness Light Station Association.
”This continues a tradition begun in 1994 when the nonprofit association (NDLSA) was formed by local volunteers to preserve and protect the iconic lighthouse and surrounding light station area by having ‘Keepers’ on watch at the station 24/7 every day of the year,” a press release said.
At the beginning of the current pandemic, many Keepers were forced to cancel due to travel restrictions and other closures.
The gap was filled by other volunteers who were able to fill in on short notice, one coming from as far away as New York.
Initially all of the interiors of the buildings were closed to the public but at the urging of the Keepers, who unanimously offered to insure that the public restrooms remained safe with repetitive cleaning, the restrooms were reopened.
“And while the museum and light tower remain closed to the public, it doesn’t mean that maintenance is on hold anywhere at the facility,” the Keepers said.
Earlier this summer a small work party poured a 1,500-pound base to support the new addition of a 1936 Coast Guard Fog Bell at the entrance to the Light Station.
A week later they carted the 1,200-pound bell out and installed it.
Recently another work party of 10 volunteers spent the week replacing plumbing and electrical fixtures, doing annual maintenance on the irrigation system and emergency generator, building a landscape structure for the Fog Bell, and scraping and painting buildings and fences, the press release said.
Additionally, all new interpretive panels were installed in the museum, which will reopen just as soon as Clallam County enter Phase 3 of the COVID-19 protocols, it said.
Last month, Wind Rose Cellars of Sequim unveiled the third edition of “The Keeper,” a special edition wine, a portion of the proceeds of which help to support the NDLSA.
The new label features a photo by Dr. Kip Tulin of Sequim and was designed by volunteer NDLSA member Jim McCauley from InsideOut Design.
All of these projects were made possible by the great support of volunteers and from several grants that helped the NDLSA offset losses from Keeper cancellations early in the pandemic.
NDLSA greatly appreciates the help of the Sequim Lodging and Tourism Advisory Committee, the Clallam County Lodging and Tourism Advisory Committee, Humanities Washington, the U.S. Lighthouse Society, and the Clallam County Heritage Grant Program. Without their support it would not have been possible to continue our regular maintenance schedule.
As are many organizations, the NDLSA will hold its annual meeting online this year.
The Zoom meeting will be at 2 p.m. Oct. 17.
The link will be at www.newdungenesslighthouse.com.