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Contact: Outer Banks Group, 252-473-2111
Acting Superintendent Darrell Echols announced that Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, 2012 is the last day for climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse this season. The lighthouse will reopen for the 2013 season on Friday, April 19, 2013.
For the 2012 season, to date, approximately 120,000 people have climbed the iconic lighthouse - a top destination for Outer Banks visitors.
Built in 1870, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. Offshore of Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream collides with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada. These powerful currents force ships into a dangerous twelve-mile long sandbar called the Diamond Shoals. Hundreds and possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the reputation as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic".
In 1999, after years of study and debate, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was moved to its present location. The lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet in 23 days and now lies 1,500 feet from the seashore, its original distance from the sea.
The National Park Service currently maintains the lighthouse and the keepers' quarters. The U.S. Coast Guard operates and maintains the automated light.