On Monday, November 28, National Park Service (NPS) South Atlantic-Gulf Regional Director Mark Foust signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Repair and Landscape Improvement Project environmental assessment (EA) at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The purpose of the project includes the following: (1) rehabilitate the interior and restore the exterior of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, (2) repair or replace deteriorated materials and finishes, and (3) selectively reverse non-sympathetic treatments added to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Oil House after 1920. Additionally, the project includes mitigating impacts to the Cape Hatteras Light Station landscape resulting from high visitation levels as well as providing a more immersive experience.
The EA evaluated the impacts of repairing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and implementing landscape improvements at the Cape Hatteras Light Station.
After evaluating three alternatives, the NPS selected and approved Alternative C: Circulation Enhanced and Lens Replicated. Under the approved alternative, the following actions will be taken inside and outside the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse during the project:
- Rehabilitate the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse interior and restore its exterior.
- Reverse some modern, non-sympathetic treatments, materials and finishes.
- Repair and repoint masonry, remove corrosion and repair metal elements.
- Remove the metal weight track from the lighthouse.
- Install new railing and balustrade using a non-corrosive metal on lantern balcony.
- Remove existing rotating light beacon and metal platform from the lantern and replace with a replica of the original First-Order Fresnel Lens. The replica lens will be the same size and overall appearance as the original, but a modern light source, such as an LED source, will be used inside the lens.
- Rehabilitate and repair the Oil House to ensure its structural stability.
- Remove the existing vinyl perimeter fence around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. A replica of the original (pre-1920) decorative metal octagonal fence with granite bases will be constructed.
- Produce and install a replica stockade fence around both the Principal Keeper’s Quarters and Double Keepers’ Quarters (Museum of the Sea) to match the look and feel of the original landscape of the early historic period (1870-1890s).
- Improve pedestrian circulation, wayfinding, interpretation and the visitor experience at the Cape Hatteras Light Station. A new visitor entrance and walkways will be created to the north of the existing bookstore to foster a one-way pedestrian circulation pattern.
- Add educational panels in key locations throughout the landscape to convey the history of changes to the buildings and landscape that occurred during and after the period of restoration (1870-1920).
- Disassemble Keepers of the Light Amphitheater and relocate blocks to perimeter of the proposed western walkway.
- Construct a new shade pavilion to accommodate visitors waiting near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
“Our team will now proceed expeditiously with finalizing design documents, awarding a contract and beginning work in 2023,” said David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina.
To view the EA, FONSI and full list of approved actions, visit parkplanning.nps.gov/caha_lighthouse.