Pigeon Point Lighthouse Falling Through the Cracks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Lori Preuitt
    Tourists were once able to tour the inside of the historic lighthouse but since 2001, they can only get so close.

    A big draw to the San Mateo coast is falling apart and in serious need of restoration but it seems the Pigeon Point Lighthouse has fallen between the cracks of beauracratic paperwork.

    The tall white building, built in 1871, once served as a guide for boaters off the coast along the route between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. Up until 2001, tourists were allowed to take trips up the 115-foot structure.

    But now, the gleaming white vision of beauty perched on the coastal cliff is streaked with rust stains and the saltwater air has taken its toll on the building, one of the tallest lighthouses in America. It's not safe for people to tour anymore and is surrounded by chain-link fences.

    The federal government was supposed to transfer ownership of the lighthouse and its five acres to California's state parks department five years ago as part of a $5 million public-private restoration project. But that transfer has yet to happen, the Mercury News tells us.

    Efforts to raise the money for repairs have come up extremely short and there is no restoration funding yet from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration.

    Deputy State Parks Director Steve Lehman says his department has yet to take over the lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard. The original deeds are still around but they were handwritten in 1877 and are little help when it comes to surveying the property. So the parks department resurveyed the property and the final transfer is expected this summer.

    Voters have a chance to help restoration efforts in the form of a ballot measure that would raise vehicle registration fees to help fund state parks. The Pigeon Point Lighthouse and others across the state could benefit from the increase.