Funding Approved for Lighthouse Point (MN)

Two Harbors, MN, 3/13/03: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) applauded U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar and Senators Mark Dayton and Norm Coleman for approving an omnibus funding bill that included $400,000 in federal funding to help conserve the Two Harbors Lighthouse Point on Lake Superior. The property is slated to become a local public park and helps protect the city’s vital lakefront.

“We are extremely grateful for the leadership from the Minnesota congressional delegation in ensuring that the $400,000 Federal Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) appropriation needed for the Two Harbors land acquisition was included in the final Omnibus Appropriations bill that passed congress was signed into law by President Bush on February 20th,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota Director of the Trust for Public Land. “This was particularly important given the tight fiscal times.”

Overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the CELCP program provides matching grants to state and local governments to acquire open space in a state’s coastal zone and is intended to protect coastal areas with significant conservation, recreation, ecological, cultural or aesthetic value. This property was one of 18 funded in the U.S. this year. Lake Superior is included in this program.

The historic Lighthouse Point has been a favorite destination for picnickers visiting Two Harbors. Though the historic lighthouse is owned by the Lake County Historic Society, most of the land surrounding it is privately owned. The public has had access to use the property through an agreement with the previous landowner, the Duluth Mesabi and Iron Range Railroad (DM&IR) and the current landowner, a private real estate developer. From the point, visitors are treated to views of the Harbor, nature trails, and picnic areas. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a lease for a public boat access along the harbor.

TPL has been working with the City of Two Harbors over the last year to help acquire Lighthouse Point. TPL helped the City develop a financing strategy and has assisted the City with not only obtaining the federal coastal money, but also in seeking critical state funds. In December, the City itself made a substantial commitment to the project by designating over $700,000 in City dollars and Department of Trade and Economic Development funds for this acquisition.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.5 million acres nationwide, including more than 20,000 acres in Minnesota.. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs, for the third year in a row.