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An occasional feature of BLM California's News.bytes

Spotlight on Partners: Piedras Blancas Light Station Association

One of BLM-California’s newest partners, the Piedras Blancas Light Station Association (PBLSA), grew out of a strong group of volunteers and enthusiastic grass-roots supporters of a very special and unusual piece of public lands -- a 19-acre jewel jutting into the Pacific Ocean on California’s Central Coast. (text continues below)

Piedras Blancas Light Station today, on land jutting out into the ocean:
Looking inland from the sea, at left is the looming white Piedras Blancas rock, at right are the light station and keeper's house

The Association was founded in 2004 “to support the restoration, preservation and protection of the Piedras Blancas Light Station, and to provide opportunities for research and education about the history, culture, and ecology of the site,” according to the group’s new website at http://piedrasblancas.org/.

The Light Station was returned to the public domain administered by BLM, from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2002.  It borders lands administered by the State Parks as part of its adjacent Hearst Castle and the entire area is surrounded by lands by the historic Hearst Ranch.  The Piedras Blancas lighthouse, fog signal building, and the fuel oil house are all on the National Register of Historic Places and the site is listed as a Historic District.  The entire site is on the Historic Register due to Native American occupancy and artifacts.

On May 8, 2008, Piedras Blancas Light Station was designated by Congress as an "Outstanding Natural Area," and added to the Bureau of Land Management's National Landscape Conservation System.

While BLM manages the Light Station, the Association plays a critical role in the restoration, preservation and protection of the area, as well as interpreting its special values to the public.  The Association is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization governed by a Board comprised of community and professional leaders from the area who have a special interest in the Light Station.

Volunteers lead periodic guided tours of the Light Station
A volunteer discusses the history of the Light Station with a group of visitors
A group on a guided tour outside of the Light Station

The Association is developing educational materials and merchandise as a fundraising effort, creating artwork reflecting the unique character and location of the site, and promoting conservation and (natural plant....not true) restoration to return the site to its appearance at the turn of the century.  Proceeds from the sale of items, from private donations, from tours, and from a contributing membership program will be used to fund historic, educational and research goals.

The PBLSA has funded a structural engineer study of the fuel & storage building (AKA the Coast Guard Bldg) and will be funding the restoration of that building for use as a gift shop and visitor center. The PBLSA has funded new walkways to the Lighthouse to correct ADA deficiencies and have located a corporate donor who will fund the restoration of the Fog Signal Building.

A new Executive Director, Julia Ogden, was recently appointed by the Association to coordinate all the Association’s activities and work closely with BLM’s Light Station Manager, Jim Boucher, to ensure a high level of coordination between the Association and BLM.

The Light Station awaits further restoration
The light station now lacks a lens and its housing at the top

As it looked in the 1940s:
In the 1940s, the light station still had its lens and glass housing at the top of the tower

Bureau of Land Management - News.bytes, issue 340

Last updated: 07-11-2008