Several non-profits have helped the New London Maritime Society secure a bid of $100,000 to buy Little Gull Island and keep it open to the public, according to a statement released on Tuesday.
Organizations including the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, New London Community Foundation, Save the Sound and several other anonymous donors worked with the New London Maritime Society to raise the money over the past few weeks. The 1-acre rock that is located between Plum Island and Fishers Island in the Long Island Sound is on a list of former Coast Guard lighthouse properties that the U.S. General Services Administration is trying to sell.
Little Gull Island is in a critical foraging area for roseate and least terns, and it is also the home to a historic lighthouse built in 1806 that also needs restoration and preservation.
“If today’s bid is accepted, the New London Maritime Society will manage the preservation of the lighthouse and will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to potentially manage the wildlife property,” said Rebecca Kaplan of, Save the Sound, a non-profit also involved in supporting the bid effort.
Though Greenport's East End Seaport Museum has not donated financially to the efforts to save Little Gull Island and its light, museum chairman Ron Breuer said that the board has always advocated its preservation.
“We’ll look to see what we can do financially and will also look into getting one of our sponsors to help out,” he said. “The government is trying to get rid of all these lighthouses but we’re definitely trying to keep them.”
The public auction closes on Wednesday, but bidding among registered bidders may continue for several more days, according to the statement.
The New London Maritime Society has set up an online fundraising campaign for others interested in donating to the bid for Little Gull Island. Contributions can be made online here or directly to the New London Maritime Society or Save the Sound.