Island lighthouse hosts 100,000th climber

Karsyn Nauss, center, was honored as the 100,000th climber at the Cape St. George Lighthouse.   She

Karsyn Nauss, center, was honored as the 100,000th climber at the Cape St. George Lighthouse. She is pictured with her mother, Jeannie Nauss, sister Avery Nauss, and Lighthouse Gift Shop Manager Carol Talley, at right.

Published: Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 02:04 PM.

An important milestone was celebrated at the Cape St. George Lighthouse on Saturday, July 26, when the 100,000th individual to climb the lighthouse since its reconstruction made it to the top of the 77-foot tower.

Karsyn Rae Nauss, 10, from Forsyth , Ga. , was the history-making climber. She was awarded a lifetime free climbing pass, a framed commemorative certificate, and a gift basket from the Lighthouse Gift Shop.

Jeannie Nauss accompanied her two daughters, Karsyn and 8-year-old sister Avery, on the lighthouse climb. The family visits St. George Island often for fishing and beach vacations, but this was their first visit to the historic lighthouse, Jeannie said.

Karsyn said she loved the view from the top of the lighthouse, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay, and said she felt “really special and lucky” to be the 100,000th climber. She said she plans to climb to the top of the lighthouse every time the Nauss family visits St. George Island .

After keeping a close count of climbers every day through July, Lighthouse Keeper Jim Dunkin and Gift Shop Manager Carol Talley were on hand to participate in the milestone moment and make the award presentation to the 100,000th climber.

Prior to automation of the lighthouse in 1949, lighthouse keepers made thousands of climbs to the lantern room to light or extinguish the lamp and perform daily maintenance duties. After 1949, U.S. Coast Guardsmen made the occasional climb to change the batteries that operated the modern beacon. When the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1994, only the rare curiosity seeker or lighthouse enthusiast attempted the increasingly treacherous climb.

After the lighthouse collapsed on Oct. 21, 2005, the St. George Lighthouse Association led the effort to reconstruct the lighthouse. Rebuilt at the center of St. George Island to protect it from continued erosion on Little St. George, the lighthouse opened to the public in Dec. 2008. In five and a half years, 100,000 individuals have replicated the climb up the 92 stairs and the eight-rung ladder to the top, just like the keepers of old.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top