Historic Lighthouse in Puerto Rico Transferred to Local Government
Washington – National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced the transfer of a Spanish Colonial era historic lighthouse in Puerto Rico to a local government under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA). The Punta Tuna Light Station, located on the south coast of Puerto Rico, will be transferred to the municipal government of Maunabo.
“These lighthouses are a significant part of the maritime history of the Caribbean basin and I commend the Municipality of Maunabo for their interest and ability to preserve and maintain these historic icons for the educational and cultural benefit of future generations,” Director Jarvis said. “The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act allows us to not only preserve this lighthouse, but continue to provide for its enjoyment by the public as part of our nation’s maritime history.”
The NHLPA was enacted in 2000 as a means to transfer historic light stations no longer occupied by the Coast Guard to any federal, state or local agency, nonprofit, or community development organization that can best protect them and guarantee their preservation and continued public use. New owners must demonstrate that the lighthouse will be used for recreation or educational purposes. A model for inter-agency cooperation, the NHLPA program is a partnership between the Coast Guard, the General Services Administration, and the National Park Service. Since 2000, more than 65 historic light stations have been transferred at no cost to qualified entities, ensuring that the public can continue to enjoy these valued places.
The Punta Tuna Light Station (Faro de Punta de la Tuna) was constructed when Puerto Rico was under Spanish Colonial rule. Completed in 1892, the octagonal stone tower rises fifty feet above an escarpment that juts into the Caribbean Sea at the entrance to the port of Maunabo. The keeper’s quarters are located in a low, flat-roofed stone and brick building that envelops the base of the tower. The light has a 3rd Order Fresnel lens, for which the Municipality also provided a preservation plan.
Acquisition of the Punta Tuna Light Station was a priority of the Municipality of Maunabo. Said the Mayor Hon. Jorge L. Márquez Pérez: “From the day the first stone was laid, the Municipality has interpreted the lighthouse as one of its most significant cultural, social and architectural components. I consider the Punta Tuna Lighthouse part of our heritage. As a result, I feel morally and historically obliged to assume its perpetual care.”
The National Park Service reviewed the application for the Punta Tuna Light Station to ensure that the recipient organization has feasible and appropriate preservation and public use plans. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar made the final decision on disposition of the lighthouse as called for under NHLPA.
For more information on the NHLPA, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/maritime/nhlpa/nhlpa.htm
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 398 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.