'Saving Straitsmouth' presented at Parker River refuge

Paul St. Germain

NEWBURYPORT — The Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is offering a new program, Wednesdaym March 6, at 7 p.m. as part of its Guest Lecture Series.

In “Saving Straitsmouth — The Story,” will Paul St. Germain will provide a virtual tour of Straitsmouth and its history, drawing from his personal experience and historical archives. During his research, he unearthed a wide variety of original documents and photographs.

As mariners approach the numerous reefs, shoals and ledges of Rockport Harbor, the three lighthouses on Thacher and Straitsmouth islands serve as navigation aids. While the Coast Guard continues to maintain the solar-powered lights, the islands and their structures are owned by the Town of Rockport, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Mass Audubon

The Thacher Island Association raises money for the historic preservation and operation of Thacher and Straitsmouth islands. The Straitsmouth Island lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places; its sister island, Thacher, is a National Historic Landmark.

In 2010, a joint effort was launched by the Town of Rockport, Mass Audubon, which maintains a wildlife sanctuary on Straitsmouth), and the Thacher Island Association to make much-needed improvements to Straitsmouth Island to provide safe access to naturalists and the general public.

The improvements include construction of a dock, ramp and mooring facilities; restoration of the dilapidated keeper’s house and an oil house; repairs to the lighthouse tower; and walking trail improvements. Straitsmouth Island will open to the public this summer for the first time in 180 years.

St. Germain, president of the Thacher Island Association and a Cape Ann author and historian, has lived in Rockport for more than 25 years.

He has written four books for the popular “Images of America” series, all focused on Cape Ann’s maritime and industrial heritage: “Twin Lights of Thacher Island, Cape Ann”; “Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations of Cape Ann”; “Cape Ann Granite”; and “Sandy Bay National Harbor of Refuge and the Navy.”

Spaces in the refuge’s 85-seat auditorium will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. This free evening program is sponsored by the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. No preregistration is necessary for this program.