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A bright white lighthouse emerges over calm water and a mix of palm and oak trees.
Information icon Lighthouse at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Steve Hillebrand, USFWS.

St. Marks lighthouse beacon will shine Saturday May 2

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge announced that the historic St. Marks Lighthouse beacon will once again shine over Apalachee Bay on May 2, 2020. Approved by the Coast Guard as a Private Aid to Navigation, the beacon features a replica 4th order Fresnel lens that recreates the light that shone continuously from 1867 to 2000. The modern version of the light is an LED lamp equivalent to a 150 watt incandescent bulb, with a photocell detector to automatically operate illuminating the light in the evening and extinguishing it in the morning.

A huge geometrically shaped lens in the top of a lighthouse overlooking a body of water
Fresnel lens in the St. Marks NWR ligthhouse. Photo by Craig Kittendorf, USFWS.

The light will operate until August 14 and again from November 1 to February 28. These dates are determined by numerous sources to be outside peak bird migration periods to avoid conflicts with migratory birds. Further research is needed to document bird and wildlife interactions outside the above periods and the refuge is seeking funding and approved protocols to determine thresholds to warrant turning the light off during peak migration.

The St. Marks beacon has significant cultural heritage value to the community and refuge visitors and is considered an important reference point for local mariners, both recreational and commercial.


Robin Will, Refuge ranger (850) 925-6121

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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