PBS show spotlights lighthouses

Volunteers sought to help with renovation

Posted: Monday, August 14, 2000

The Juneau Lighthouse Association will hold a work party at the Five Finger Lighthouse this weekend and public TV will be there filming.

On Friday, a boat of volunteers will depart Auke Bay harbor for the lighthouse, south of Juneau where Stephens Passage meets Frederick Sound. The lighthouse will be featured in the upcoming PBS series, Legendary Lighthouses. The JLA is seeking 30 people, members and nonmembers, to spend Aug. 18-21 assisting with various renovations.

Whoever does attend will not be disappointed, said Valerie OHare, chairwoman of the JLA. They will get to do yoga on the helicopter port at 6 a.m. every morning.

The cost for round-trip transportation to the lighthouse is $110 per person, including meals. Thirty spots are available; the JLA has 50 members, but because of the short notice, OHare isnt sure how many of them will be able to attend.

Those who come along will have rustic at best accommodations.

Were asking people to bring sleeping bags as well as pack as light as possible, OHare said. Just because were going to be transporting as much gear out to the lighthouse as we possibly can get out there.

Any work done on the lighthouse will likely be videotaped by the PBS film crew that will come along in the boat.

If theyre out there working, theyre going to be filmed as the work crew, OHare said. If youve been profiled on Americas Most Wanted, you might want to avoid this.

PBS has been filming lighthouses in Alaska for most of August. Two other nearby lighthouses, Sentinel Island and Point Retreat, will be featured in the video. Five Finger, OHare said, stands out in a number of ways. Its the oldest lighthouse in Alaska, barely beating out Sentinel Island, and was the last lighthouse to be staffed. In addition, the area around Five Finger is the largest breeding ground for humpback whales in North America.

However, OHare noted that upkeep can be a problem.

The project is financially drained, she said. Its us and another couple, and weve been footing the bill for everything so far, all of our preservation efforts. What were looking for is grassroots community support. Were looking for a chance to preserve and restore this historic building.

Children under 16 cannot attend the event; nonmembers are asked to call 790-3339 to make arrangements.

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