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.