Cape Decision Lighthouse, Kuiu Island

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Cape Decision Lighthouse, Kuiu Island

by | Jan 8, 2020

Cape Decision is a headland on the southern end of Kuiu Island in Southeast Alaska, 105 miles (169 km) northwest of Ketchikan and 75 miles (121 km) southwest of Wrangell, Alaska. The cape was named in 1793 by Captain George Vancouver because here he decided the expedition had progressed far enough north to be beyond the islands claimed by Spanish explorers.

The area round the headland is dangerous for navigation because of strong tidal currents, frequent occurrence of dense fog, and numerous offshore rocks. Larger vessels that transit the Inside Passage typically pass Cape Decision. On September 10, 1911, the wooden steamship Ramona, bound from Skagway to Seattle, ran aground in thick fog on the Spanish Islands, just off Cape Decision. This prompted the construction of a light station that was activated in 1932.

The concrete lighthouse features a square tower with a light at an elevation 75 feet (23 m), and a one-story structure wrapped around its base. The lighthouse provided quarters for three keepers and had a basement that housed generators for the light and fog signal, boilers, and cisterns for storing water. The lighthouse became automated in 1974. In 1989, a fire damaged the tram, dock, boathouse, hoist house, paint shed, and helipad. The original Fresnel lens was replaced in 1996 with a solar powered aero beacon. In 1997, the lighthouse was leased to the Cape Decision Lighthouse Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the lighthouse for public recreation. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Decision and Kuiu Island here:

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