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Contact: Jason Ginder, 252-995-4474 x24
Superintendent Mike Murray announced that Columbus Day, Monday, October 11, 2010 is the last day for climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse this season. The lighthouse will reopen for the 2011 season on Friday, April 16, 2011.
For the 2010 season, to date, approximately 130,000 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. This powerful current forces southbound ships into a dangerous twelve-mile long sandbar called 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.