For the first time ever, the Bodie Island Lighthouse will be open for public tours. The structure was built in 1872 and has been closed for a $5 million renovation for the past four years. Years of exposure to harsh weather had brought on structural and safety problems. Restoration work included repairs to the spiral stairs, brickwork and the lens that still serves as a navigational guide for ships.
"The lens is famous in that there are very few of them remaining that are active aids to navigation," says Cyndy Holda, public affairs specialist for the Outer Banks Group of the National Park Service.
She says visitors have never been allowed to climb to the top of the 156 foot tall lighthouse before.
“From the top you can see the ocean to the east and the sound to the west of us, and it's pretty much undeveloped except for a few areas like Oregon Inlet fishing center,” she says. “It is a spectacular view of what the Outer Banks and the barrier islands looked like many years ago.”
The lighthouse is south of Nags Head and north of the Oregon Inlet. Holda says a limited number of park ranger guided tours will be offered each day beginning at 9:00 this morning.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will also open today for visitors to climb. Both lighthouses will remain open until October 14.