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National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000
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Background | Agency Roles in Process
History of Program to Date | Further Information on the Program
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The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NHLPA), 16 U.S.C. § 470w-7, an amendment to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, provides a mechanism for the disposal of federally-owned historic light stations.

NHLPA recognizes the cultural, recreational, and educational value associated with historic light station properties by allowing these to be transferred at no cost to federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit corporations, educational agencies, and community development organizations. These entities must agree to comply with conditions set forth in NHLPA, and be financially able to maintain the historic light station. The eligible entity to which the historic light station is conveyed must make the station available for education, park, recreation, cultural or historic preservation purposes for the general public at reasonable times and under reasonable conditions.

Only those light stations that are listed, or determined eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places, can be conveyed under this program. The nomination for listing, or determination of eligibility, is prepared by the USCG following guidelines set forth in 36 CFR 60.9(c) and 36 CFR 63 respectively, as part of their responsibilities prior to the property being transferred to the GSA inventory for disposal. Light stations that are not eligible for listing will be disposed of through other processes.

Prior to the NHLPA, historic lighthouses could be transferred to state or local agencies through the National Park Service’s Historic Surplus Property Program or the Federal Lands to Parks Program.


Administering NHLPA involves several federal and state agencies that play different roles in transferring surplus historic light stations to new owners:

  • The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and other federal agencies, identify and report historic light stations to be excessed through the NHLPA process. These agencies also make available condition reports, maintenance records and related documentation on these properties to the other agencies involved in the process as well as to prospective applicants.
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) issues Notices of Availability (NOA) on historic light stations available for transfer, and works with the USCG to arrange open houses at the properties. In addition, GSA initiates Section 106 review with State Historic Preservation Officers, conducts environmental reviews in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Coastal Zone Management Act as applicable, and develops and executes conveyance documents. In the event that no applicant is approved to receive the historic light station, GSA may sell the property in accordance with procedures outlined in NHLPA (16 U.S.C. § 470w-8; Sec. 309).
  • The National Park Service (NPS) of the Department of the Interior, acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), provides applications to interested parties, and reviews and evaluates submitted applications. The Secretary recommends a single suitable applicant to GSA or indicates that no suitable applicant was found.
  • The State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO) are consulted during the review of applications (16 U.S.C. § 470w-8; Sec. 308(b)(2)) and after the transfer of ownership takes place (16 U.S.C. § 470w-8; Sec. 308(c)(1)(D)).

Through the NHLPA Program, nine historic light stations were excessed during the pilot phase in Fall 2001 and nineteen were excessed during the national phase in Fall 2002. Of these twenty-eight light stations, the NPS has recommended that twenty be transferred to new owners including other federal agencies, state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations.

The “pilot” and “national” phases of the program were managed by the NPS Maritime Heritage Program in Washington, DC. The program was transferred to the NPS regional offices on April 29, 2004.

General questions regarding the program should be addressed to james_gabbert[at]

To sign up to receive electronic updates on the NHLPA program see the GSA Office of Property Disposal web site.

Further Information:
Available Lighthouses :

Monitoring Reports:

Under NHLPA, lighthouse recipients are required submit detailed annual reports to the National Park Service. These reports outline the recipients' activities and include information about maintenance/preservation, finances, and other issues or problems.

While each light station is unique and presents its own challenges, there are many issues that are common for all stewards. Posted on this page are monitoring reports from NHLPA light station recipients. The reports are presented as searchable pdf documents, to make it easier for anyone to research specific problems or solutions.

Click to view the NHLPA monitoring reports.

Reference Material:

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Last Modified: 6/2/11

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