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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Central California District
 
Release Date: 01/05/10
Contacts: David Christy , (916) 941-3146  
News Release No. CA-CC-10-15

Piedras Blancas Light Station Celebrates 135th Birthday With Public Tours


Free public tours will be offered Tuesday, February 16, and Thursday, February 18, to celebrate the 135th birthday of the Piedras Blancas Light Station north of San Simeon.

“The Piedras Blancas lighthouse was first lit on February 15, 1875, by the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Over the years, different managing agencies have been responsible for keeping the light burning. In the fall of 2001, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) assumed management of Piedras Blancas Light Station,” said Jim Boucher, BLM light station manager.

People who wish to attend the tours should call (805) 927-7361 and leave a message with their name, phone number, date they wish to attend and number of people in their party. Tours meet at 9:45 a.m. at the former Piedras Blancas Motel, located 1 ½ miles north of the light station. Please do not wait at the gate to the light station. Tours last about two hours and include both the human and natural history of the site.

“There has been tremendous progress in restoring the light station and grounds since the BLM acquired Piedras Blancas,” Boucher said. A sea of non-native iceplant has been replaced with native plants providing for the return of an entire ecosystem. Several historic structures have been restored and public tours are offered Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, excluding federal holidays. 

The BLM has created a network of partnerships to assist with the operations at Piedras Blancas. “An astonishing 15,555 community volunteer hours were logged in 2009, bringing the total volunteer hours to over 62,000 since 2002,” he said. A friends group, the Piedras Blancas Light Station Association, was formed in 2004 to assist in raising funds for the restoration of the light station.

Youth groups have also contributed to the Piedras Blancas restoration effort. Students from Grover Heights Elementary School in Arroyo Grande have collected more than $6,000 in a campaign they call “Pennies for Piedras”. Engineering students from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo designed a replica of the elevated water tower that once stood in the historic district of the light station and a working model of the clockwork mechanism that rotated the 1st order Fresnel lens.

In addition to the 135th birthday celebration, Piedras Blancas will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). Piedras Blancas was congressionally designated an Outstanding Natural Area within the NLCS in 2008.  




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Central California District   2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825  

Last updated: 01-08-2010