PENINSULA LIGHTHOUSES Preserving and cherishing the Olympic Peninsula’s maritime heritage extends to its lighthouses. In 1850, Congress authorized 16 lighthouses along the Pacific coast and Strait of Juan de Fuca as shipping and passenger traffic surged with settlement of the Northwest. Clallam County, established in 1854, has a lighthouse heritage going back to 1857, when Congress appropriated about $40,000 to build the Cape Flattery (Tatoosh Island) and New Dungeness lighthouses, both of which are functional as automated navigational aids today. The New Dungeness Lighthouse is near the tip of Dungeness Spit, a round-trip trek of 11 miles. This was the first U.S. lighthouse completed on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It has operated continuously, providing navigational aid to ships plying the waters of the Strait since its lard oil lamp was lit for the first time Dec. 14, 1857. The lighthouse is one of the very few that allow families an opportunity to be “lighthouse keepers” for a week. In 1993, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The New Dungeness Lighthouse is open to the public, and tours of the lighthouse are available daily from 9 a.m. to three hours before sunset. If you plan to hike out to the lighthouse, allow about five hours for the round trip, plus some rest time at the lighthouse.
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Check the tide tables; at low tide there, is plenty of beach to walk on, but at high tide, it can all but disappear. Mind signs for the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge (p. 68). For more information, visit newdungeness lighthouse.com. The lighthouses of Jefferson County — Point Wilson (1879), Destruction Island (1891) and Marrowstone Point (1912) — came considerably later, and all three remain
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active but with automated equipment. The Point Wilson Lighthouse at Fort Worden State Park marks the west entrance into Puget Sound. It is the turning point from the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Admiralty Inlet. The current station was built in 1914, replacing the original tower. The Point Wilson Lighthouse and tower, located at Fort Worden State Park, are open free to visitors from May through September on Saturdays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
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