Washington's lighthouses attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. These iconic symbols are able to stay open to the public thanks to volunteers, donors and grant funding, one of the more substantial portions coming from grants supported by proceeds from sales of the Washington Lighthouse specialty license plate. These grants help with restoration, preservation and interpretive projects throughout Washington.
Lighthouse Environmental Programs, a Whidbey Island based non-profit organization, launched "Keep Washington Shining" campaign in 2014 to encourage drivers to choose a Washington Lighthouse license plate. Their goal is to make drivers aware of their direct impact on preserving Washington's coastal treasured for future generations. Since the license plates became available in 2008, proceeds from the sales have funded $125,000 in lighthouse restoration projects. The plates are $40, with $28 of that going directly toward Lighthouse Environmental Programs.
The dozen lighthouses and one lightship LEP supports bring thousands of out-of-state tourists to the area each year. These tourists spend money on lodging, food and shopping, helping the local economy thrive. "Lighthouses were vital in developing our entire state and region, helping ships of all types safely navigate our waterways," said Julie Pigott, license plate grant administrator for LEP and the WSU Extension of Island County Lighthouse Program Coordinator in Coupeville. "Today, they are equally vital to the vibrancy of coastal communities by attracting thousands and thousands of tourists each year."
Check out the Washington Lighthouses website for the history, stories, restoration efforts and visitor information about the lighthouses that benefit from LEP funds. These lighthouses include Admiralty Head (Coupeville, Whidbey Island), Browns Point (Tacoma) Burrows Island (near Anacortes), Grays Harbor (Westport), Lime Kiln (San Juan Islands), Mukilteo (Mukilteo), New Dungeness (Sequim), North Head (Ilwaco), Patos Island (San Juan Islands), Point No Point (Hansville, Kitsap Peninsula), Point Robinson (Vashon Island), Turn Point (San Juan Islands) and the Swiftsure Lightship (Seattle).
You can also find more information on LEP and the Keep Washington Shining campaign by following us on Facebook at Washington Lighthouses.