EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The National Park Service is recommending transferring ownership of three historic Rhode Island lighthouses from the federal government to the state government.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said the park service suggests that Beavertail Lighthouse, Sandy Point Lighthouse, and Watch Hill Lighthouse, be turned over to local authorities.
Reed says he is expecting Beavertail in Jamestown to go to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM); Sandy Point in Prudence Island to the Prudence Conservancy; and Watch Hill in Westerly to the Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association (WHLKA).
“This is great news. The Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association is honored and eager to be awarded stewardship of the historic Watch Hill Light Station,” said Ann Snowden Johnson, President of WHLKA. “We are thrilled to begin this next chapter of our stewardship of this beloved landmark,” she continued.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) needs to officially accept the recommendations before ownership is transferred to local organizations, according to a spokesperson with Sen. Reed. In some cases, federal authorities will continue operating the lights and fog horns as needed, but going forward, all responsibilities for the three lighthouses, including maintenance, will be turned over to their new owners.
“This means DEM and responsible nonprofits will keep watch over these landmarks and ensure they continue to remain a strong, enduring symbol of Rhode Island’s maritime heritage,” said Reed. “Transferring ownership to local care and ensuring the preservation of these sites is a win for the community.”
Earlier this year, the GSA announced that the Warwick Neck Lighthouse was available to be transferred to local ownership. Entities interested in submitting a letter of interest for the lighthouse must do so before July 14.
Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth and Plymouth Lighthouse are also eligible for local ownership.
Interested parties can submit a steward application to GSA.