Oswego, N.Y. - The first Lake Ontario Central New York Lighthouse Challenge will take place this year on Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and June 22, 2014. The challenge is to visit six unique New York lighthouses within two days. The official Challenge route starts with Oswego's West Pierhead Lighthouse and then moves East and West from the Thousand Islands to Rochester, N.Y.
To register, visitors can start at the H. Lee White Marine Museum located on the West First Street Pier in Oswego on Saturday, June 21 at 9 a.m.
If participants prefer, they may purchase a registration packet ahead of time and begin touring at any participating lighthouse beginning the morning of June 21. The packets are available by pre-registration before June 12 or from the museum until the day of the event. The packets are $15 each.
Participants will collect a lighthouse stamp or token at each lighthouse they visit. Special arrangements have been made to include bonus sites not usually open to the public. The lighthouses are located along the southern end of Lake Ontario and following along the Seaway Trail, a National Scenic Byway.
Those who register to take the challenge will receive an official "Lighthouse Challenge" booklet which includes information about each site, directions and recommendations of other attractions to view along the way, local tourist information and their final award.
Sites located east of the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse will highlight Rock Island Lighthouse of Clayton, Tibbits Point Lighthouse in Cape Vincent, Cape Vincent Breakwater Lighthouse of Cape Vincent and Selkirk Light near Pulaski. Travelling west of Oswego, visitors can view the Braddock Point Light in Hilton, Charlotte-Genesee Light in Rochester, Rochester Harbor West Pierhead Light, Sodus Bay Light and Sodus Outer Light in Sodus, and Fair Haven Range Lights in Fair Haven.
At each stop, participants will have an opportunity to learn about the essential role of lighthouses located along this most eastern Great Lake in protecting maritime vessels that plied the waters and made commerce and trade possible.
"These events raise awareness for the preservation efforts going on and excite people to support their own lighthouses. This challenge also gives enthusiasts the opportunity to see lighthouses that are not always accessible to the public," noted Jo Panayotoff, Oswego Lighthouse Challenge Committee member and longtime lighthouse enthusiast.
Anyone who wants to register in this challenge but is unable to complete the whole route is welcome to join in the fun and visit as many sites as they wish on the list. A future visit may be possible.
The challenge is taking place in honor of the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse's 80th anniversary. In addition, an extensive restoration process is underway. Thus far, volunteers have replaced two ceiling panels in the signal room, restored various windows, and prepared the bathroom for painting. Outside work was also completed to improve the security of the basement window shutters and secure the deck hatches. Volunteers were also able to install video surveillance and warning signs on the deck. All ten window lanterns have been replaced and the interior and exterior of the lanterns and lantern gallery deck and railings have been repainted.
The H. Lee White Marine Museum is located at the end of the West First Street Pier, in Oswego's Historic Maritime District. For more information about the Lake Ontario CNY Lighthouse Challenge, the current restoration process or other museum activities, contact the Museum at (315) 342-0480, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, visit hleewhitemarinemuseum.com, facebook.com/hlwmm and facebook.com/oswegolh.
For accommodations and Oswego County visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com.
The iconic Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse is the epicenter of the Lake Ontario Central New York Lighthouse Challenge Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22. Several lighthouses east and west of Oswego along the Lake Ontario shoreline will be open to visitors. For information contact the H. Lee White Marine Museum at 315-342-0480 or e-mail email@example.com. (Photo by Mary Ellen Barbeau, Oswego County Tourism.)