By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 31, 2019
ST. MARKS, Fla. (WCTV) -- The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge celebrated its 88th birthday on Thursday and celebrated by shining the lighthouse for the first time in nearly 20 years.
"A lot of the fisherman and a lot of the water-men and a lot of the people who use boats around here and the people who live in this county are terribly excited to see this light lit," said Terry Peacock, the refuge manager with the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
After years of renovations, over $1.3 million was raised by the organization 'Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge' to restore the lighthouse. That includes a new $40,000 replica of the original Fresnel lens, which was donated by Dr. David and Valerie Lahart.
It was switched on around 7 p.m. on Thursday to the delight of hundreds of people who braved the winds and rain to see it happen. The light was left on for Thursday night and will be shut off until the end of November while the refuge takes public comment on a "lighting schedule."
The refuge will consider all comments and concerns over the inpact the light may have on wildlife in the area. You can share your thoughts by emailing Peacock at email@example.com.