Washout spurs creative work-arounds to New Dungeness Light Station

Sequim’s New Dungeness Light Station Association is, as the old saying goes, “If all you have is lemons, make lemonade” after its only access road to the Dungeness Spit was washed out on the first weekend of May.

An irrigation pipe on an adjacent property was accidentally left on for more than two days. The water flooded the properties and caused a large portion of the road to slide about 30 feet downhill, making the access road totally impassable for the pickup trucks used to transport the keepers to and from the light station.

Fortunately, three years ago the lighthouse association acquired a landing craft type vessel, the Paradigm, to haul renovation equipment, materials and subcontractors out to the lighthouse and debris back from it. The vessel has allowed the association to continue the weekly turnaround of keepers without interruption — but the compromise has significant challenges, complications due to weather considerations and additional transfer time and expenses.

The association is actively working with the property owner, insurance company and a local engineering firm to perform soils investigations and develop an engineering repair solution. The preliminary projected time for the engineering review, permitting and repair is six or more months.

Because the boat use is limited to “fair weather” conditions, the New Dungeness Light Station Association purchased two six-person UTV vehicles and trailers to use as primary transport for the keeper exchanges.

Association president Tom Sinton says he is “pleased and grateful that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge on the spit, has given us permission to use the paved path to access the beach with our new UTV vehicles for our Keeper transfers.

“So far, the Keepers have been very understanding and tolerant of the inconveniences, and have even considered it as added excitement to the stay at the NDLS.”

The association, which has maintained and operated the lighthouse since 1994, is committed to maintaining its keeper program which allows the lighthouse and museum to remain open to visitors from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 365 days a year.

See newdungenesslighthouse.com for more about the association.