Coupeville, Wash. Feb. 18, 2014 – Lighthouse Environmental Programs (LEP), a Whidbey Island based non-profit organization announced today the launch of the Keep Washington Shining campaign to encourage drivers to choose a Washington Lighthouse specialty license plate for their car, motorcycle, trailer or RV. The campaign is designed to make drivers aware of the direct impact they have on ensuring Washington’s coastal treasures for generations to come.
The state’s iconic lighthouses are generously supported by the efforts of donors, enthusiasts, volunteers and other funding sources. A substantial portion of the funding for restoration, preservation and interpretive projects comes from grants supported by proceeds from sales of the Washington Lighthouse specialty license plate.
For each license plate sold and renewed, LEP, which manages the license plate funds, receives $28. To date, license plate sales have funded $125,000 in grants to help fund various projects for lighthouses all along Washington’s coastline.
“The $28 LEP receives is a tax-deductible donation for the driver, and one that many Washington employers will match,” said Julie Pigott, license plate grant administrator for LEP and the WSU Extension of Island County Lighthouse Program Coordinator in Coupeville. “We want our state drivers to know that the one simple thing of purchasing a Washington Lighthouse license plate makes all the difference in whether a lantern house or leaky roof can be repaired.”
Pigott says that keeping the state’s lighthouses in good condition is about more than preserving history.
“Lighthouses were vital in developing our entire state and region, helping ships of all types safely navigate our waterways,” said Pigott. “Today, they are equally vital to the vibrancy of coastal communities by attracting thousands and thousands of tourists each year.”
The 12 nonprofit lighthouses and one lightship eligible for grants attract maritime enthusiasts and cultural visitors every year. Log books show many visitors are from within Washington, yet for many lighthouses, a majority of visitors are from other states, as well as Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. While admission to lighthouses is often free, these visitors will spend money on lodging, food and shopping, helping small businesses thrive.
A new website, washingtonlighthouses.org, features the history, stories, restoration efforts and visitor information about the lighthouses that benefit from LEP funds. These lighthouses include Admiralty Head (Coupeville, Whidbey Island), Browns Point (Tacoma) Burrows Island (near Anacortes), Grays Harbor (Westport), Lime Kiln (San Juan Islands), Mukilteo (Mukilteo), New Dungeness (Sequim), North Head (Ilwaco), Patos Island (San Juan Islands), Point No Point (Hansville, Kitsap Peninsula), Point Robinson (Vashon Island), Turn Point (San Juan Islands) and the Swiftsure Lightship (Seattle).
License plate funds also go toward three WSU Extension of Island County programs supported by LEP: WSU Beach Watchers, WSU Lighthouse Docents and WSU Waste Wise Volunteers.
For more information about LEP and the Keep Washington Shining campaign, visit washingtonlighthouses.org or follow on Facebook at Washington Lighthouses.