Lighthouse Preservation, Local Outdoor Recreation and Gypsy Moth Infestation

For Friday, May 29, 2020

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1 – A historic lighthouse in northern Michigan will be preserved. 

The St. Helena Island Light Station, just west of the Mackinac Bridge, will receive repairs and restoration from the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association with help from a $60,000  grant from the state Historic Preservation Office.

The association plans to use the grant to hire contractors to remove all existing paint from the lighthouse tower, replace deteriorated mortar and brick, clean all masonry and stone surfaces, replace sealant around openings, rehabilitate the lantern to be watertight and repaint the entire tower. 


Credit: Frances Czapski

The lighthouse has stood for 147 years. 

It was boarded up in 1922, but began undergoing extensive restoration in 1986 when the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association obtained a license from the U.S. Coast Guard to restore the station.  

The lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 and volunteer groups have helped with its upkeep. 

The St. Helena Island Light Station is accessible by boat and offers tours, education workshops, events, and group activities, and also participates in a Volunteer Assistant Keepers program.

Funding for these types of preservation grants come from the sale of specialty Save Our Lights license plates available at Secretary of State offices. 

2 – There’s a new mapping tool for outdoor recreation. 

It’s intended to help people find boating, fishing, hiking and other outdoor recreation opportunities close to home, to help slow the spread of coronavirus, state officials say

The map is part of a “Your Local Outdoors” website where you can enter your address (or just browse the map) to find nearby spots for fishing, boating and hiking. 

Find the map at Michigan.gov/YourLocalOutdoors

3 – Baby gypsy moth caterpillars hatched earlier this month and were ready to start eating the leaves off of local trees. 

Spraying by Bay County to control the caterpillars was completed this week in a heavily infested wooded area of Gibson Township

Officials say surveys show that the gypsy moth population in that 381-acre area had reached outbreak levels, was likely to damage the trees in the area and might also spread to other areas of the county if not treated.

A product containing a soil bacterium was sprayed using a low-flying, yellow fixed-wing aircraft. 

Officials say the product targets gypsy moth caterpillars specifically and has no known impact to non-target organisms such as humans, pets, birds, fish and other insects. 

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR (now streaming). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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