Ocracoke lighthouse
The National Park Service plans to rehab the Ocracoke lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters and seeks public input. Photo: C. Leinbach

The National Park Service will hold two public meetings, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, March 28, in the Berkley Barn, for public review and comment on an environmental assessment (EA) for the rehabilitation of the Ocracoke Light Station.

The same information and question-and-answer session will be presented at both meetings.

The public comment period ends April 13.

Last year, the NPS held a meeting to outline the repair needs of the lighthouse.

Buildings associated with the Ocracoke Light Station complex include the lighthouse, double keepers’ quarters, carpenter’s shop, store house, cisterns, privy, oil house and generator house. Built in 1823, the Ocracoke lighthouse is the oldest functioning lighthouse in North Carolina and the second oldest lighthouse still in service in the United States.

The Ocracoke Light Station rehabilitation project is needed because these historic structures were damaged from recent storms and, if the buildings are left as they are, it is expected that they will be damaged further by future storms.

In the wake of recent storm damage and in consideration of future impacts from climate change and sea level rise, the National Park Service proposes to sustainably rehabilitate the Ocracoke Light Station and mitigate reasonably foreseeable flooding impacts while continuing to provide visitor access.

The EA evaluates three alternatives:

Alternative A simply follows the current management plan to repair exterior and interior storm damage.

Alternative B proposes to elevate some of the structures at the Ocracoke Light Station and repair storm damage.

Alternative C proposes to remove the Double Keepers’ Quarters and replace it with a ghost structure, which would mimic the size, shape and location of the existing building.

Under all alternatives, the lighthouse would be rehabilitated, which would include the following actions:

–Removing the shotcrete from the exterior of the lighthouse and replacing it with a coating that will allow appropriate protection of the masonry and moisture control.
–Replacing damaged masonry, including replacing bricks and mortar.
–Repairing or replacing all windows with historically appropriate windows.
–Repairing leaks at the top lantern and repainting.
–Recoat interior masonry.
–Expose the original stone foundation.

The three alternatives and a summary of their potential impacts are listed in the Ocracoke Light Station Rehabilitation Project newsletter and EA at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CAHA_ocracoke_lightstation.

Comments may be submitted electronically, the preferred method, or mailed to: Superintendent, Attn: Ocracoke Light Station, 1401 National Park Dr., Manteo, NC 27954.

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