Experience the life of a Lighthouse Keeper at Tawas Point

A willingness to set aside the computer, video games and other electronic gadgetry for a week or two could lead to a unique Michigan vacation opportunity. Those who have longed to experience the slow pace and the romance of the Victorian era can try their hand at being the lighthouse keeper at one of Michigan's state parks this season.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteers to spend a week or two between March 4 and Dec. 23 acting as lighthouse keepers for the Tawas Point Lighthouse during the 2012 Lighthouse Keeper season. The lighthouse is located on the grounds of Tawas Point State Park along the shores of Lake Huron in East Tawas.

Volunteers eager to read up on the lighthouse's rich maritime history in order to lead visitor tours, work in the museum's gift shop or perform other miscellaneous duties can stay in the newly renovated keeper's quarters for a cost of $250 per person, per week. The living quarters include two bedrooms and a modern kitchen and bath.

''The lighthouse has been in operation since 1876 and is one of only nine lighthouses on the Great Lakes with a working Fresnel lens and still an active aid to navigation,'' said Chuck Allen, recreation supervisor at the Tawas Point State Park.

The chance to enjoy spectacular views and the unique lodging has enticed many vacationers to seek out the experience during the first three years of the program. According to Allen, volunteer lighthouse keepers stayed in the lighthouse from April through Christmas in 2011.

The lighthouse keeper program is open to singles and couples 18 years and older. Allen suggests that volunteers should be physically able to lead tours through the lighthouse and tower and perform housekeeping duties such as minor maintenance or lawn care. Applications can be obtained at www.michigan. gov/tawaslighthouse. Dates and prices are effective through 2012. For details, call (989) 362-5658.

A Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering the park. The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking ''YES'' on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call (517) 241-7275.

Non-resident motor vehicles must still display a valid non-resident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site, which can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan. gov/dnr.

Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan

Published: Mon, Feb 6, 2012

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