The young child looks to his Mom and Dad asking tentatively, “Am I tall enough this year?” He anxiously awaits their response remembering the outcome the last time they visited Cape Meares Lighthouse. “Yes, you’re over 40 inches this year.” The child beams with anticipation and listens to the volunteers discuss the historical photos and tour up into the tower of the lighthouse. Images of being in the lighthouse keeper’s family riding horses to school or even the keeper himself flood through his mind prior to this exciting new adventure.
In a few moments his group is called and he and his parents slowly move into the small main floor gift shop and then the waiting room on the main floor where a video is playing. He’s a little hesitant when he sees the stairway up to the tower but he quickly overcomes his fear as another little boy and his parents also wait.
Many children from all over the world are in our tours each year with over 65,000 people visiting the shortest lighthouse in Oregon, the Cape Meares Lighthouse. The smiles and excitement on their faces tell us this is truly a great time to be at least 40 inches tall.
The Lighthouse is now open 7 days a week and tours are available every day from 11 to 4 weekdays and 11 to 6 on weekends until September. Volunteers from the Oregon State Parks as well as from the Friends of Cape Meares assist in this monumental task each summer.
New paint outside last year sparkles in the direct sunlight, and this year it has been repainted inside by Oregon State Park staff and looks fabulous.
Additional work this year at Cape Meares State Park includes the new ADA (American for Disabilities Act) trail to the restrooms from the parking lot. This extensive project was completed by Oregon State Parks and just opened in May. Now disabled visitors don’t have that steep hill to navigate. Work has also started on an additional parking lot after an extensive number of hazard trees needed to be removed from the park after winter storms. Costs which need to be covered for these badly needed additional parking spaces will hopefully be coming from many sources including donations from our visitors in the donation box inside the lighthouse.
The Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse is a non-profit 503C and is always interested in new volunteers who enjoy history and sharing it with visitors, friends and family and working with Oregon State Park volunteers. Our FOCM volunteer coordinator, Arla Ayers, (503-354-5248) would love to hear from you. We provide training and your commitment of time is up to you. When you bring summer friends or visitors to the lighthouse, take a moment and talk with one of our volunteers. It’s a lot of fun as well meeting people from all over the world.
And back to our little visitor – what would happen if he hadn’t been 40” tall? Well, he still would have been able to view the video, and receive a free Oregon Junior Ranger sticker. Or maybe his parents would be interested in a copy of the video or a children’s book to read before bedtime about life at the Lighthouse including all of nature’s visitors.
Sweet dreams little one and see you next year.