Bodie Island Lighthouse Restoration Funding is Slashed Again

blogbodie2.jpg Bodie Island Lighthouse and the National Parks Service were the Pork Ration victims of budget cuts in the 3,565 page $555 billion omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2008 approved on Dec 26, 2007.

The $3 million appropriation, sponsored by Congressman David Price (D-NC) for restoring Bodie Island Light, was axed by a Senate-House conference committee in order to meet the demands of President Bush who approved the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008” (H.R. 2764) with 9,800 earmarks that total more than $10 billion.

The National Parks Service was hoping that the Restoration of Bodie Island Lighthouse would be completed in May 2009, at a cost of $3.8 million in public funds (1). On August 9, 2004, 16 pieces of iron fell 150-feet from the balcony of the Lantern Room. On July 31, 2007, the tower was reopened to partial Public Tours after cables were wrapped around corroding pieces of metal to stabilize the balcony.

Due to the severe rust of the 214 cast-iron step winding staircase, the public is only allowed to see the interior of the Tower from the ground level. To prevent Lighthouse Levitation of the First-order Fresnel lens, John Whitehead has calculated the cost of restoration could be recovered in 10 years if each visitor paid $4.00 to climb the Tower.

Mike Murray, superintendent of the National Parks Service Cape Hatteras Group is working with Washington to include the appropriation for the restoration of the Lighthouse in next year’s budget. Bodie Island Lighthouse actively warns mariners of the turbulent currents and shifting shoals near the coastline of the Outer Banks.

Lighthouse Background:
Bodie Island Lighthouse is one of the few historical treasures with the original First-order Fresnel Lens in service! In 1872, the third and current Lighthouse was built on Roanoke Sound between Nag’s Head and Oregon Inlet due to the Civil War and the shifty coastline of the Outer Banks.

The first two “Bodie Island” Lights were built on Pea Island, south of Oregon Inlet, after Lieutenant Napoleon L. Coste recommended to build a Lighthouse 35-miles north of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to help mariners to fix their position when navigating the dangerous coastal waters of Cape Hatteras to avoid the shallow shifting shoals and swift currents.

The current Bodie Island Lighthouse was First Lit on October 1, 1872 exhibiting a Fixed White Light illuminated by a First-order Fresnel lens and Lard oil Lamp 156-feet above sea level visible to a range of 18 nautical miles. The light was converted from a fixed to a flashing light when the lighting apparatus was converted to electricity on Sep 19, 1932. The current Light Characteristic is 2 White Flashes every 30-seconds.

On July 13, 2000, the Tower of Bodie Island Lighthouse was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the National Park Service for preserving the historic landmark. In 2003, the Coast Guard planned to remove and replace the deteriorating Fresnel lens with a modern optic. Fortunately, the National Park Service negotiated a plan to save the historic lens and the U.S. Coast Guard transferred ownership of the Fresnel lens to the National Park Service under the General Services Administration’s federal property disposal process on April 25, 2005.

The 166-feet high Bodie brick tower is painted with 22-feet high white and black horizontal bands. Hopefully, we will be allowed to climb the 214 steps to the Lantern Room for another memorable vantage point to view the scenic Outer Banks after the Tower is restored. Currently, Bodie Island Lighthouse Tours are restricted to viewing the winding staircase.

For more information about Public Tours, please visit Bodie Island Light.

blue_starMap Location:
For Map Directions, please visit the Google Map of Bodie Island Lighthouse.


(1) Budgets cuts since 2005 have delayed the restoration and full opening of the Lighthouse. The National Park Service originally hoped to begin reconstruction of the Tower in 2007.

Related Posts:
Bodie Island Lighthouse, the Treasure of North Carolina, Oct 16, 2007

Bodie Island Lighthouse Tours, Jul 29, 2007

Related News Story:
Lighthouse seeks a beacon of hope, Feb 24, 2008

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About Debbie Dolphin

Lighthouse author and photographer living in New England

Posted on March 9, 2008, in Open House, Preservation News, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Hi Kim @ laketrees,

    No problem, one duplicate comment was deleted and our last two comments will self-destruct after you receive my message, secret agent laketrees, The Australian Connection to our clandestine comedy!

  2. had to post this comment through poeartica as I was having problems with laketrees url ..
    sorry if you have received a million duplicates DD :0

    laketrees’s last blog post..Desert Sunrise

  3. ah yes this bunny will replace the blogger bunny DD …will check out the secret portrait now… 🙂

    laketrees’s last blog post..Desert Sunrise

  4. Hi Kim @ laketrees

    We were hoping to be able to climb this stylish Lighthouse this year to capture pictures of the OBX (Outer Banks) and the huge glowing gem in the Lantern Room….

    $4 is a very reasonable price for admission to prevent funding delays year after year.

    I hope my ASCII (Ask key) Art will be submitted in the humor category of your art competition at the UBP? 😉

    Since every browser doesn’t display Ask key Art correctly, here is the correct image of Bugs:

    The following image reveals the display problems of Keyboard Art within Blogger:

    Note the periods were added to align the face of Bugs in the Preview on the Left and the difference when displayed in my Blogger Comment.

    P.S. the white rabbit whispered in my ear: the secret portal (link) is between the Photo of Miss Moneypenny and Kim’s Dad posted here.

  5. very stylish lighthouse DD aka Miss MP
    you would think $4 is more than reasonable…

    August the 9th rings a bell ..ah yes that’s my birthday lol…(true story)
    but the cake is over at the UBP where I will be publishing the master art work of Debbie Dolphin very shortly 🙂

    laketrees’s last blog post..The Ultimate Blog Party 2008

  6. Hi Robert,

    With so many time tested solutions available like tickets for admission, I am amazed that no plan of action is in place to save our historic Lighthouse Treasures which continue to be vital Active Aids to mariners…

  7. I always shake my head in wonder when money for things like this is hard to find..but dollars are spent willynilly elsewhere…

    robert bourne’s last blog post..Speedy Stop Sending the Snow

  1. Pingback: » Lighthouse Restoration Initiative Election New England Lighthouse Treasures

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