A single dirt road leads to the lighthouse on the eastern side of the island, where most if the island's egrets tend to nest.
The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation oversees the island.
A total of $1.2 million was budgeted for the restoration project in 2008. Restoration plans call for a new beacon and restoration of the caretaker's cottage quarters in the same building. A memorial walkway, garden and plaque will honor victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Interior work on the lighthouse was scheduled for April through July, with no exterior work during that time in ordeer not to disturb breeding herons and egrets. The project was scheduled for completion in 2009.
In the decade before 2007 a nonprofit group called Return the Light was formed and raised $305,000 for restoration work — most of it donated in the memory of Ben Fisher, one of the most active members of the group and a victim of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The renovation is to include a tribute to the 16 local victims of the terrorist attacks. (Most worked in the World Trade Center; seven other victims had close ties to Greenwich.)
Some conservationists have expressed concern that the restoration work may fatally disturb nearby nesting herons and egrets. Although the work mostly involves gutting the interior of the structure, the conservationists say the increase in the number of visitors may disturb the wading birds, which have few other nesting options in the area and may just die off. In 2007, town officials and conservationists were discussing options to protect the birds and help repopulate them on the island. The plans could include limiting access to the lighthouse area to small, guided tours during the nesting season (March to August) and planting evergreen trees to separate the birds from the lighthouse area. Tom Baptist, executive director of Audubon Connecticut and a Greenwich resident, said he supports the renovation work together with measures to protect the birds.
In 1970, a freestanding skeleton tower replaced the light. A caretaker continued to live in the old lighthouse until 2003, when it became too dilapidated. The lighthouse eventually fell victim to vandals. In 1973, the town of Greenwich acquired the lighthouse and had full time caretakers living in the light until 2003. In 1991 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
No public tours of the lighthouse or island are available.
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