Maintaining an offshore lighthouse, and sharing it with the public, can often be a challenging task. Unlike many lighthouses located on land where volunteers and visitors can drive right up, offshore lights require boat transportation, good seas – and a safe place to land people and supplies.
Whether it is a permanent dock or a system of seasonal floats and walkways, the landing area at a lighthouse might be considered one of the least glamorous aspects of the light station by the average person, yet it is the vital starting point for all good things that occur at the site.
Little River Light Station, which is located on a 15-acre island at the entrance to Cutler Harbor, Maine, is no exception.
Under normal conditions, landing facilities will suffer wear & tear, but when you factor in the ravages of winter storm winds and seas, a docking arrangement can really encounter some adverse damage.
This is exactly what has happened at Little River over the past winter. Due to storm damage, the situation has forced the Friends of Little River Lighthouse (FLRL), a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, to scramble in carrying out repairs to their floating dock system in time for the light station’s overnight stay program and open houses that begin in July.
FLRL volunteers Terry Rowden and Nick Lemieux, along with help from Trevor Jessiman, spent a number of days in early June essentially rebuilding the storm-damaged 75-foot floating walkway, which could only be worked on at low tide along Sand Beach in Cutler Harbor.
“As soon as the connecting walkway on the island can be repaired the floating walkway will be brought out to the island,” said Timothy Harrison, chairman of the Friends of Little River Lighthouse. “This was a major undertaking that required, and will continue to require, a lot of hard, physical labor.”
One of the critical repairs to the floating walkway includes the installation of side supports. Harrison explained, saying, “The side supports are necessary to help prevent the walkway from leaving its position and suffering damage due to wakes caused by the lobster boats and storm seas. Once this is complete, we will then haul the walkway to the island and connect it to island walkway, along with a system of two floats.”
Harrison concluded, “We are indebted to our volunteers for all of their hard work accomplished to date, and still more that will be done in the weeks ahead.”
There is a lot of memorable fun waiting to be enjoyed at an offshore lighthouse like Little River, along with some very rewarding maintenance and preservation work one can participate in at the site, but it all starts with a solid “welcome mat” at water’s edge in the form of a safe and efficient landing.
Thanks to dedicated volunteers like Terry Rowden, Nick Lemieux and Trevor Jessiman, the gateway to experiencing the wonders of Little River Island will be reestablished – allowing the Friends of Little River Lighthouse to once again welcome visitors to their one-of-a-kind site!