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Light's out! National Park Service restoring five Apostle Island stations

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The light stations on the Apostle Islands are in the midst of their biggest historic preservation project ever. The Duluth News Tribune reports that the National Park Service is spending $3.5 million project to restore light stations on five of the islands. The newspaper had an update on the ongoing work, which has closed the lighthouses to the public this summer.

Lake Superior Magazine's blog reports that repairs are underway on light stations on Michigan, Devils, Sand, La Pointe and Outer Island. The restoration of Raspberry Island Light Station was completed in 2007.

Much of the work is being done on Michigan Island, where the first lighthouse was built in 1856. Work includes repairs to the dock, adding plaster and iron columns in the tower; and reroofing. The original lighthouse — long closed to the public because of mold and hazardous materials — will be cleaned and receive refinished floors, doors, trim and plaster. Plans are to open it as a small museum next year.

Three acres of encroaching woods also are coming down on Devils Island. Other work on Devils Island includes foundation stabilization and repairs to the buildings. On Outer Island, workers will reroof, repoint, repaint and repair the lighthouse and the roof and foundation of the fog signal building. On Long Island, the light will receive major repairs to its concrete footings and minor repairs to the metal tower. The Sand Island light will receive a new metal roof and gutter repairs. The interior will be repaired and replastered.

The national lakeshore contains the largest number of lighthouses found in the National Park System. The area annually attracts more than 175,000 visitors who contribute more than $20 million in tourism spending, according to the Bayfield, Wisc. Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau.

During the work the lighthouses are closed to the public. The Park Service reports it hopes to finish the work this year.

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