February 17, 2006
Wouter Ketel, 252-728-2250 ext. 3005
Acting superintendent Cherry Payne announced that Cape Lookout National Seashore will begin a project to rebuild the sound-side shore near the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.
The project will dredge sand from a shoal northeast of Shackleford Banks and transport the sand to the beach north and south of the lighthouse dock. The purpose of the project is to protect the Cape Lookout Lighthouse keepers’ quarters, its summer kitchen and ultimately the lighthouse.
This shoreline was heavily impacted in September of 2003 by Hurricane Isabel. Rising water from Isabel eroded protecting dunes along the sound beach and undermined the coal shed which was located between the Keepers’ Quarters and dunes. Since Isabel, subsequent storms have continued to impact the shore, and large sandbags were placed in the area as a temporary protective measure.
The work will begin in the next two or three weeks and the entire project is expected to take about two weeks to complete. Visitors are urged to be aware of the dredge working in the inlet, and for their safety, to abide by localized closures along the lighthouse sound beach.
Prior to 1933, South Core Banks was connected to Shackleford Banks in the area of the lighthouse. A 1933 hurricane opened an inlet, which is now called Barden Inlet. Since that time, Barden Inlet has been maintained at various times through dredging projects performed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Up until the 1970’s, there had been plenty of land between the light station and the sound shore, but in the late 1970’s, the inlet apparently shifted and began to rapidly erode the shore near the lighthouse. In short, over 100 feet of shore had disappeared, and the National Park Service feared the loss of all of the structures, including the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. In response to the concerns around 1980, the Corps of Engineers dredged a new channel along the eastern shore of Shackleford Banks. This new channel greatly reduced the erosion on the soundside beach near the lighthouse.