U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 341


Celebrating Piedras Blancas

A light station that has warned sailors of danger since 1875 is the newest shining light in BLM’s system of special places.

Students perform their "Piedras Blancas Rap" song at the ceremony
A highlight of the celebration was a performance of the "Piedras Blancas Rap" by students from Grover Heights Elementary School.

About 200 people gathered at the Piedras Blancas Light Station at San Simeon on July 19 to celebrate the addition of Piedras to BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System. Legislation making Piedras part of the system was enacted in May. The lighthouse and surrounding historical area are now designated the Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area.

Elena Daly, NLCS director, said Piedras is the first light station to receive an NLCS designation and credited a “grass roots effort” by local residents for making it happen.

Congresswoman Lois Capps, who sponsored the legislation, noted the area is a “sacred space” used by Native Americans for generations before the light station was constructed. “It’s a treasure for us and hopefully will be for generations to come,” she said.

She credited area residents, San Luis Obispo County supervisors and others who worked on the designation. “Piedras Blancas has been preserved through a great collaboration,” she said.
 
She read letters at Congressional hearings from students at Grover Heights Elementary School urging members of Congress to pass the legislation. “After I read those they said they couldn’t do anything but pass this bill,” she said.
 
Tom McNulty, representing the Piedras Blancas Light Station Association, said association members were pleased to work with the various parties on the legislation. “The association was formed to connect the public and community with the work of BLM,” he said.
 
The Hind Foundation has given a $100,000 grant for restoration work at the fog signal building. “We recognize there is a tremendous asset here that is becoming more and more open to the public,” said Greg Hind.

Piedras Blancas lighthouse was operated by employees of the U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939 when the Coast Guard assumed command. Light Station functions were automated and the Coast Guard subsequently relinquished management of Piedras Blancas BLM on October 12, 2001.

Elena Daly, director of the National Landscape Conservation System, tells the audience that it was their grass-roots efforts that led to the special designation.
NLCA director Elena Daly tells the audience that the designation was a result of a grass-roots effort

Congresswoman Lois Capps referred to letters from Grover Heights Elementary School that helped convince members of Congress to pass the legislation.
Congresswoman Lois Capps referred to letters from Grover Heights Elementary School that helped convince members of Congress to pass the legislation

BLM-California Associate Director Jim Abbott presents Congresswoman Capps with a framed photo of the new Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area
BLM-California Associate Director Jim Abbott presents Congresswoman Capps with a framed photo of the new Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area

Area Boy Scouts raised the flags of the United States, the State of California and the BLM. 
Area Boy Scouts raised the flags of the United States, the State of California and the BLM

Supporters gathered for the celebration
Supporters gathered for the celebration

Volunteer guides in Victorian-era costumes posed with Associate Director Abbott and Congresswoman Capps after the ceremony. The volunteers guide tours of the light station, available by reservation.
Volunteer guides in Victorian-era costumes posed with Associate Director Abbott and Congresswoman Capps after the ceremony.

Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area

- Photos by J. Bedrosian and D. Christy, BLM - 7/19/08


BLM-California News.bytes, issue 341


 
Last updated: 07-24-2008