Park Service looking at moving Ocracoke Lighthouse on North Carolina’s Outer Banks

State - Regional

FILE – This Friday, June 5, 2009, file photo shows visitors at the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Park rangers with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore say they are investigating vandalism to the Ocracoke Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina. The Virginian Pilot reports that rangers discovered damage to the lighthouse on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (The Virginian-Pilot via AP, File)

OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) — The National Park Service has begun a project to evaluate how to repair and whether to relocate the historic lighthouse on North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island.

The bright white structure is the second-oldest lighthouse in the nation still operating and has been damaged several times in recent years by hurricanes, The Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday. The lighthouse bricks and mortar are currently deteriorating from moisture trapped by a coat of concrete that was applied to its exterior nearly 70 years ago.

Water levels on the remote island are also rising, threatening to inundate the site, which sits on property just 2 feet above sea level.

The Park Service is now seeking comment on a range of options, including whether to repair the structure as is, elevate and repair it, or relocate it.

“We’re putting everything on the table,” Dave Hallac, superintendent of National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, told the newspaper.

Which option will be chosen depends on public opinion, cost and what would best to save the structures, he said.

The Park Service will hold more public meetings in the coming months as plans are finalized next year, the newspaper reported. The recently opened comment period will close May 28.

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