Our Life in the Pacific Northwest

New Dungeness Lighthouse

New Dungeness Lighthouse
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Sequim Washington

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New Dungeness Lighthouse is located on Dungeness Spit on the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in the town of Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula. To get to the lighthouse you must hike 5 miles on a natural sand spit.  A “Spit” is  a narrow point of land extending into a body of water. The hike is long but worth it. You definitely need to time your hike according to the tides. During low tide there is enough sand to walk comfortably. At high tide you’ll be walking on logs and rocks and it will take you much longer. Check out my Dungeness Spit Hike post for more info.

dungeness-spit

The New Dungeness Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse in Washington State. It’s been continuously operational since 1857 and was the first lighthouse completed on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Up until 1994 the Coast Guard maintained the lighthouse until budget cuts caused the keepers to be removed. That year the New Dungeness Light Station Association was established with the mission to protect and preserve the lighthouse.

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Since 1994 the members have maintained and manned the lighthouse 365 days a year and offer tours everyday from 9am-5pm. Being a member gives you the opportunity to be a “keeper” for a week. Keepers pay a fee and stay for a week giving tours and maintaining the lighthouse. They drive you, your party and your belongings/provisions on Friday and pick you up the next Friday  For more information on becoming a lighthouse keeper click this link.

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After hiking for 3 hours we were so happy to finally reach the lighthouse. We were tired and hungry but elated that we were finally there. The lighthouse has a picnic area so we sat down and enjoyed our lunch 5 miles out into the ocean next to a historic lighthouse. Life was perfect at that moment.

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The lighthouse keepers offer tours which includes walking up to the lantern room which has a 360 degree view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The stairs are spiral and a little daunting, but the view is worth it. Before you climb the stairs make sure you sign the visitor book. I browsed it a bit and was fascinated with the the places people were from. There were visitors from all over the world! 
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 This is the view facing the trail to Dungeness Recreation Area and Sequim. The sand bar on the left is called Graveyard Spit and is off limits to the general public. In 1868 eighteen Tsimshian Indians, (men, women & children) were massacred by the Clallam Indians as they camped on the spit. One pregnant woman escaped and was sheltered by lighthouse keeper Henry Blake. The victims were buried on Graveyard Spit. Several years later the son of the pregnant woman came back to the lighthouse to meet Henry Blake, the man who saved his life. Graveyard Spit is off limits to the general public.

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This is the view facing the tip of the spit which grows 13 feet a year. This area is also restricted from the general public.  From this point it is only 18 miles to Victoria BC.

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My friend and I sunburned, tired and so happy to be there. I was wishing our families had made the trek with us.

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As you climb down the spiral staircase there is a room that displays all kinds of treasures found on the spit. Click the thumbnails for a larger view.

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The museum is filled with history and information. Take some time to read everything and examine all of the artifacts. It’s like stepping back in time, which I love to do.

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If you’d like to join the New Dungeness Lighthouse Association click this link. Annual membership dues are $35 per person or $50 per family.
Membership Benefits Include:
� Receive the quarterly newsletter “The Foghorn”.
� Membership makes you eligible to become a Keeper.
� You are also eligible to volunteer for work-“parties” that provide the maintenance and upkeep of the station!
� You could become one of our valued drivers and transport Keepers or workers to and from the station.

 

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Just imagine being five miles away from civilization for a whole week. Seven full days of tranquil ocean breezes and the constant sound of the surf. I have put this on my bucket list and even if it takes a few years I will get back to the New Dungeness Lighthouse.

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history

 

In 1927, because of deterioration, possibly caused by the North Cascades earthquake that occurred in 1872, the 91-foot tower was reduced to its present 63 feet. A well drilled in 1930 provides excellent quality water. An armored marine cable laid across Dungeness Bay in 1934 brought electricity to the Light Station. In 1976, the light and fog signal were automated and the Station was manned by a single Keeper. In 1993, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.       tall2This was the original size of the New Dungeness Lighthouse before 1927.

 If you have been to the Lighthouse or have any questions please leave a comment. I love reading other peoples’ experiences. If you are planning to go make sure you are aware of the tide tables. A hike during low tide is much more enjoyable then high tide.

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