High-level concern as erosion brings lake closer to lighthouse at Golden Hill

Photos by Tom Rivers: Golden Hill State Park Manager Renee Campbell, left, and Adrienne Clark, office manager, stand by a fence near the lighthouse at the park. Chunks of land near the lighthouse slid into the lake over the weekend.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2017 at 2:55 pm

Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse has been a landmark along Lake Ontario since 1875.

BARKER – Land is being chewed away by Lake Ontario near the 30 Mile Point Lighthouse, a landmark in Barker since 1875.

The lighthouse is a focal point of Golden Hill State Park, not far from the Orleans County line.

“There are big chunks of land that are falling in,” said Renee Campbell, the park manager.

There was a small landslide over the weekend that shaved off a slice of land near a fence that was on the edge of the park by the shoreline.

There used to be enough room by the fence to mow the grass. Now, after a chunk of land collapsed into the lake over the weekend, there is a tiny sliver separating the fence from the edge of the land.

The high lake level, and crashing waves, have eaten away lots of soil and land at the park, taking some big bites out of the land. A maintenance road used by the park employees has been declared off limits after erosion took down trees and land along the road.

“The maintenance road has been undercut by the lake,” said Renee Campbell, the park manager. “It’s not safe for vehicles.”

Other sections of shoreline, including a camp site by the lake, have been deemed off limits, with yellow caution tape warning the public.

Campbell has worked at the park for 17 years. She said the lighthouse is an important treasure for the community. The building’s fate is her main worry.

“You can move a driveway but the lighthouse has been here since 1875,” she said.

Campbell and the park staff go to work each day, worried the shoreline will look different by the end of the day. They were thankful the wind died down the past two days, giving a little reprieve from the lake.

“The past week and a half it’s changed a lot,” Campbell said. “We need rip-rap and boulders. You’re talking major bucks.”

The lighthouse, shown in this historic photo on an interpretive panel at the park, once had much more land separating it from the lake.

Trees are leaning over and some spots by the lake are marked off with yellow caution tape after the lake undercut the shoreline.

Photos courtesy of Adrienne Clark: This photo from the top of the lighthouse shows a shoreline under assault from the lake.

The park maintenance road has been shut down due to erosion.

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