Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI) have introduced legislation to preserve the history of the iconic Ashland harbor by transferring the Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light from the Coast Guard to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
“Maintaining our public lands, including our National Parks, is not only important to preserving our history, but is crucial for economic development, outdoor recreation and education in our communities,” said Senator Baldwin. “The Ashland Light is a public treasure and distinctive marker of Ashland’s role in the region. I’m proud to work with Congressman Duffy to help preserve the lighthouse so that visitors can continue to experience all of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.”
"The Ashland Breakwater Light has stood proudly at the entrance of Chequamegon Bay for nearly a century. It has guided ships through dark nights and storms and welcomed weary travelers back to Lake Superior’s shores. This historic landmark continues to serve as a critical part of Ashland area tourism, recreation, and education." Rep. Duffy continued, "I thank Senator Baldwin for joining me on this issue and for her work in the Senate. Together we will maintain and preserve the Ashland Light so that future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from this important piece of history."
For years, the U.S. Coast Guard has been looking for another organization to take over management of the Ashland Breakwater Light, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service, the only public or private entity to express interest in obtaining and maintaining the Ashland Light, is not able to accept a transfer of the property without legislation to provide a boundary adjustment.
Baldwin and Duffy’s legislation establishes that new park boundary and allows for the transfer of the lighthouse from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard to the National Park Service, which already manages eight lighthouse towers on six of the Apostle Islands.
“The Ashland Light transfer will be a gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore right here in the City of Ashland,” said Mayor Bill Whalen, City of Ashland. “It will be part of the tour that so many make as they explore the light houses in the Park. It will give the Park another opportunity to tell the story and importance of the APIS to many travelers who are passing through which may extend their stay and give them a reason to return for a longer visit.”
Baldwin sits on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which has jurisdiction over the National Park Service. In August, Baldwin toured the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and met with National Park Service staff to discuss the impact of sequestration on the park, management of the land, historic preservation and tourism.
Background on the Ashland Light and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore