After many years of perseverance to acquire the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse, BIPS was awarded the long awaited stewardship of the lighthouse in April 2016. BIPS officially signed the licensing agreement with the United States Coast Guard, USCG under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, transferring Gasparilla Island Light and its 7.4 acres of beachfront property to BIPS care and protection from development.
With the approval from six federal and state government agencies, and the help of many generous donors, BIPS raised funds and fully restored the lighthouse to its 1927 splendor within a year of acquiring it. The landscaping and a pristine nature trail were also added as part of the restoration project. In 2017, for the first time in history, the lighthouse and trail were open to the public.
BIPS was honored to receive the prestigious Florida Trust Award for Outstanding Achievement in Restoration in 2018.
In a continued effort to ensure the light keeps shining, BIPS applied and was awarded private aid to navigation stewards of the light and lens by the USCG in 2018. BIPS preserved history once again by restoring the lens with a new 4th order replica Fresnel and the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse was celebrated in a historic relighting ceremony in February, 2019. To commemorate, an onsite bronze plaque was unveiled during the relighting, to honor the legacy of founding donors. Thanks to so many of you, the lighthouse is restored and the lens is shining each evening from dusk to dawn and is found on maritime charts as an official beacon.
The restoration cost in excess of a million dollars and did not include the cost of the new lens of approximately $52,000. Today BIPS continues to raise funds for the cost of the new lens and to preserve the lighthouse for future generations. Annual preservation and maintenance costs total over $60,000 and we need your help. Contributions to Barrier Island Parks Society, Inc. are tax deductible to the extent provided by law and within IRS guidelines. I.R.S. Exempt Status #65-0327405. To donate by credit card, please select the Donate button on this page. Checks may be sent directly to The Light Keeper’s Fund, P.O. Box 654, Boca Grande, Florida 33921. Stock shares may also be transferred; please contact Sharon McKenzie email@example.com or call (941) 964-0060. Together, we inspire, educate and preserve our natural historic treasures!
Watch the video below to see how much we have accomplished, thanks to you!
Together, we make a positive difference for future generations!
This historic icon and skeletal lighthouse was originally built in Lewes, Delaware, in 1881, and is one of the few standing original range lights in the country that has been an active aid-to navigation in two states. After it was decommissioned in Delaware, it was taken down piece by piece and erected in Boca Grande in 1927. First lit in 1932, the light flashed every 6 seconds during evening hours and was critical to help guide Phosphate ships into port. Unfortunately the lighthouse fell into critical disrepair and was almost lost forever. Learn more about the history of this lighthouse by clicking here.