The Wood Island boathouse is ready for summer visitors. The boathouse was repaired after significant damage caused by January storms. Contributed / Kyle Noble photo

Despite significant damage by January storms, the lighthouse and other structures on Wood Island will be open to the public and The Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse have opened their online registration system for summer tours.

The winter storms on Jan. 10 and 13, produced significant damage to Wood Island. On the east side, significant erosion took place in front of the lighthouse tower. About one foot of lawn area was lost and the underlying fractured rock continues to erode. Thanks to a project undertaken by four seniors at University of New England and their professors, the pace of erosion has been measured and potential remediation means researched. Due to the complexity of the erosion issues, this will be a long-term project for the Friends.

At the west end of the island, the 1867 boathouse was lifted by the tides from its foundations and moved approximately 16’, ending up lying on stone cobbles at an angle. Battered on several sides and having lost two doors, the boathouse retained its floor and basic structure. On Jan. 29, volunteers rescued the group’s restored “peapod” from the boathouse. The peapod is thought to the be last such rowing boat owned by the Coast Guard and had been purchased, restored and displayed in the boathouse by the Friends.

Beginning in May, the group’s volunteers began to remove the accumulation of stones that had been driven under the boathouse and surrounding platforms. Finally, thanks to the work of Lance Paradis of Paradise Construction and Friends’ executive committee member, Kyle Noble, the boathouse has been
leveled, raised, and moved to a temporary location where it will be stabilized until a final location is determined and financed. A new temporary boardwalk has been constructed to connect the Coast Guard ramp, where tour guests land on the Friends’ landing craft, Light Runner, to the cross-island boardwalk.

During the summer season, guests will see a new feature under construction, the replication of the Keeper’s well pump structure from the 1906 era. Paradise Construction will be building the pump structure and a new boardwalk to the hill near the flagpole where the group plans to build a barn, evoking the fact that keepers farmed on the property for 130 years. The Friends have previously acquired a hand pump, originally manufactured in Saco, which is identical to and may actually be, the pump shown in period pictures with the family of Keeper Burke and their cow.

The Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse welcome guests to visit this summer to witness the impact of winter storms, tour the restored keeper’s house and enjoy the beauty of the island.

Tours to the Wood Island Lighthouse will begin on July 3 and will run at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until Friday, Aug. 30.  There will be no tours on the July 4 holiday or on Labor Day weekend. For information and reservations, see their website,

The organization always welcomes volunteers who are able to help with their mission.

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