The 2018 Season for the Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse always begins well before the Lighthouse opens because the Board meets monthly to review and discuss issues of importance which will affect our operation. This year was the first year that the Oregon State Parks, Cape Lookout Unit, managed and staffed the gift shop with State Park volunteers while the Friends volunteers helped with crowd control and Lighthouse tours. Friends Group volunteers assisted to work toward this transition with a training session that was held at the Park in early May.
Also, as a part of this change, the Gift Shop was open from 11am to 4pm Monday - Thursday, and 11am to 6pm Friday - Sunday, during the busy summer months of June, July, and August. During the half hour of 2-2:30pm it was closed to tours for a lunch break.
Merchandise for the Gift Shop purchased through the State Parks focused on local and natural attributes of the Cape Meares Lghthouse and Wildlife Refuge. In addition, durng the busy summer months, volunteers from US Fish and Wildlife answered questions for visitors on the two viewing platforms by the parking lot.
This was also an excting year for the Lighhouse because we were able to get it cleaned and painted on the outsde with a fresh coat of white paint pror to opening! After visiting several of the other
Oregon Lighthouses this summer, I realized that the Friends have much to be proud of with the financial support for Cape Meares!!
Another new feature of the Cape Meares Lighthouse this year was the replacement of the wooden nature display signs as you traverse the trail down and back to the Lighthouse. The colorful new signs add a beautiful feature whiich augments the trail experience and are similar to the other signs seen at Oregon State Parks and Wildlife Refugees..
Beautiful weather throughout much of the summer resulted in more than 55,900 visitors to our Lighthouse, during the months of June through September, with visitors from over 100 countries! The VISIT TILLAMOOK COAST tourist dollars and road repairs on Cape Meares Loop (the road to the Lighthouse) also were helpful in attracting visitors to our Lighthouse during the summer months.
Enjoy reading Karen Hirtes new article about the history of the lighthouse and its location on Cape Meares v.s. Cape Lookout on the HISTORY page.
Thank you all for coming today – It’s wonderful to have volunteers from the Friends Group and I hope you all realize that you are an important part of the project we call the Cape Meares Lighthouse!
Today I am providing an annual report to the membership of the Friends on what last year looked like – our wins and our areas for improvement. The lighthouse was open from May 1st to September 30, 2017. During this time it was staffed by volunteers from Oregon State Parks and Recreation and was open 7 days a week. The only exception was for the few very warm days when the temperature in the tower was over 100*, however, the Gift Shop remained open. We began the season with our regular hours of 11am – 4pm.
We also had volunteers from our Friends Group assisting the Oregon Parks volunteers with tours, lunch relief, and crowd control during this time. As the summer progressed we continued to have significant growth in attendance when the schools let out in June, with our advertising on the Internet, and written copy from the Tillamook Coast Tourists Bureau.
Due to this increasing volume of visitors in June, we expanded the hours from 11am-6pm for Friday thru Sunday, with the weekdays remaining at 111am-4pm. Overall, this resulted in over 65,000 visitors to the Lighthouse during this season. The Oregon State Parks measure the number of vehicles that come into the Cape Meares Park during the season and their total was over 181,600 for the same months. The Park definitely has a parking problem and now you know why!
In addition, we had a change in our staff this past year with our Gift Shop manager stepping down and the rebuilding process that was a part of that. Our Board of Directors had several members who had completed their three year terms, so new officers and Board Members were voted in. Board Meetings were expanded to a monthly basis so that proper approvals and activities could be approved as necessary. All major purchases and activities such as the Inventory reduction Sales we held in May and September, required Board approval and that kept us all very busy!
Oregon State Parks and Recreation, in its management capacity, provides us with ongoing support of our efforts to preserve the Lighthouse. This past year as a part of their efforts, they remodeled the Gift Shop prior to its opening on May 1st with a fresh coat of paint, and cleaned up the space and cabinets, to make the shop more welcoming. The also interviewed and selected the State Park volunteers who camp at Cape Lookout State Park.
To accommodate the changes in the size of the Gift Shop and to improve our financial position, the Board of Directors of Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse held two inventory reduction sales, one in May, and the other in September. Funds from the sales of covered the cost of some of the obsolete inventory that was still on hand. These sales, which were held at Netarts Community Center, required volunteers from the Friends Group for three days. The volunteers assisted in staffing the sale as well as transporting the inventory, setting up, and breaking it all down afterwards The $6000 in merchandise that was sold at these sales were additional income to the $70,000 n merchandise was sold at the Lighthouse during our regular 2017 season. Our volunteers also assisted in the Lighthouse along with the three part time employees – a Buyer, Assistant Shop Manager, and a Bookkeeper. We appreciate all of our volunteers, thank you!
The Board of Directors voted, after discussion with our members, at the October potluck, to transition the management of the Gift Shop to the State Parks. Although this will result in less seasonal revenue at first, it opens up the opportunity for more educational and interpretive work by the Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse in 2018 and beyond. As we move forward with these changes and more purposefully work on the educational and interpretive work with the Lighthouse we ask for you input as our members.