The third annual Maine Open Lighthouse Day will take place rain or shine Sept. 17, with many of the state’s coastal, island and river lighthouses planning to welcome the public.
18,000 people visited 25 open light stations during the 2010 event, and 5,000 people climbed up light towers for the lantern room view. The event is coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard, in partnership with the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, and is the largest event of its kind in the country.
Maine lighthouse fans can learn about participating lights and share their Lighthouse Day plans on the new event Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MaineOpenLighthouseDay.
Most lights will be open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for guided or self-guided tours of keeper’s houses and light towers. Some light stations will have limited accessibility or special restrictions. For details about visitor hours, fees, activities and transportation to each participating lighthouse visit www.lighthouseday.com or contact the friends group of an individual light.
More than half of the 60-plus working lighthouses in Maine are accessible to the public during the summer months thanks to the landmark Maine Lights Program passed by Congress in 1996.
This program transferred the ownership of lighthouses from the Coast Guard to local preservation groups and organizations like the American Lighthouse Foundation, and served as a model for the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.