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Offshore Lighthouse Conveyances

Contact: Tom Graf, 517-284-5561, graft@michigan.gov

The Federal Government through the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the General Services Administration (GSA) are offering Great Lakes lighthouses to groups for the purpose of long-term historic preservation and public education. Several of these lighthouses are located offshore on Great Lakes public trust bottomlands. A conveyance of the occupied bottomlands is required from the State of Michigan.

The bottomlands of the Great Lakes are held in trust by the State of Michigan for use and enjoyment by its citizens. The State, as the owner and trustee, has a perpetual responsibility to the public to manage these bottomlands and waters for the prevention of pollution, for the protection of the natural resources and to maintain the public's rights of hunting, fishing, navigation, commerce, etc. 

Part 325, Great Lakes Submerged Lands, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended authorizes the DEQ to convey Great Lakes public trust bottomlands for certain private and public occupations, including historic lighthouses. The State of Michigan's authority to protect the public's interest in the bottomlands of the Great Lakes is based on both ownership and state regulation. The Public Trust Doctrine gives a state the authority to not only manage but also to protect the public's fundamental rights to use property. 

A Bottomland Lighthouse Conveyance Application can be downloaded here. 

Information on the federal application process to acquire a lighthouse can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/maritime/nhlpa/noa.htm