Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse Preservation Society



Buildings & Grounds


Year in review

    Another year comes to an end and in looking back I feel that we made progress with our 2017 list of work projects.   Along with those projects came providing transportation and assistance for the historic report and BLM crews.

     We started the season with the first trip on 5/23/17 to open the island in preparation for the historic crew.   6/05/17 was a long day not only with the transporting of that number of people, shuttling them to shore and back, but still doing our normal chores.

     On the 19th we took the photographer and drone pilot from BLM out and had a great day.  The water on the trip out, leaving before daylight made for a comfortable trip and warming sunrise. Just seeing what the photos from the drone provided in a way that you never see from the ground made each photo and video worth the trip.

     The next trip was on 7/03/17 we had the Alpena Township Supervisor and two of the Trustees so they could see what the island is about, what we as an organization have accomplished and are still working on.   Hopefully next season we’ll be able to take the rest of the Trustees.

 That day we also installed the island transfer sign from BLM.

   On 7/22/17 we installed the roof over the Tram sign with the help of two guests from Huron Engineering that were trying to locate historic markers.  They didn’t find them, but we were glad to have their muscle to lift the roof into place. 

     8/02/17 we went to prepare for the trip with BLM, Alpena Township, Alpena County Road Commission, MDOT, SHPO, and Coast Guard.  We also finished the roof installation on the Tram sign.  Meijer helped in the funding for this project.       

 On 8/08/17 we took people from BLM, Alpena Township, Alpena County Road Commission, MDOT, SHPO and the Coast Guard.

  On 9/11/17 we closed up the island for the season.  With the eight trips this year with boat and worker hours of 309.5  it equates to $15,270.75 of In-kind Service.

 On 12/10/17 we removed the donated mural of the Thunder Bay Island Tower and Keepers from the Dry Dock Bar and placed in storage.  This will be installed on the East wall of the day room.

    Along with what has been noted, on each trip we cut A LOT of grass, knocked down brush, maintained equipment and numerous other items, small, but important.   Never enough time or help.

    Also at the direction of the Board, I submitted applications for grants, donations  and or other forms of  assistance from many manufactures.  At this point nothing positive.  I found that many manufactures only fund local to their plants.    What I have asked for was a tractor that could be used on the Island assisting in moving docks and equipment.  I still have others to hear from.  My next round of grants or donations will be for a new riding lawnmower. 

     While covering this past years accomplishments, I might as well add what is being looked at for the coming season. 

 Reinstallation of bedroom window and trim.

Finish installation of doors on locker displays.

Move last picnic table from the camp ground to the Keepers area and replace the top and seats on the last two tables.

Add tires to the North side of the Boat house to protect boats tied up.

Clear brush on the East side of the Tower and chip

Clear brush on the rail to the South Dock and chip

Clear lifesaving area and chip

Clear & widen sections of the main trail from landing to Keepers.

Along with these projects comes the hopeful Fog Signal Roof Project, which I’m sure we will assist in in some way.

     To each member and to those that might be interested in the Island and all of the projects, remember that working on the Island is only a part of what needs to be done.   There are many projects that can be worked on year around.  If you have a talent, trade, or willingness to learn more about the history of the Island, please contact us.   I will also mention that we are a small, aging organization that’s always looking for new members.


                                       Thank you,  Dave Skibbe 

                                        Co-Chair, Buildings & Grounds