Cana Island Lighthouse remains one of Door County’s premier tourist attractions despite the fact the island is occasionally, once again, a true island.
The historical structures on the island are maintained by the Door County Maritime Museum under the jurisdiction of the Door County Park System and are visited by tens of thousands of visitors each year.
The rising waters of Lake Michigan over the past couple of years now, at times, cover the causeway leading from the mainland parking lot to the island. This has been troublesome for some visitors while others have found the shallow wade to be a pleasant reminder of the last time water inundated the causeway more than two decades ago.
“We want to stress that we are still open for business,” said Amy Paul, the museum’s Executive Director. While strong winds and waves might cause an occasional lighthouse closing, the opportunity still exists to see one of the most photographed lighthouses on Lake Michigan.
And help has arrived for those who would prefer not to get their feet wet! The museum has now implemented a tractor-drawn hay wagon with seats and sides to traverse the causeway.
“This is a unique opportunity to experience a new addition to the Cana Island experience,” says Paul, referring to the wagon ride. “It will again ensure that everyone will have the opportunity to see the lighthouse/island which is in the midst of a multi-million-dollar phased restoration project.”
Phase One of the project is complete and involved an extensive restoration of the lighthouse’s exterior and tower. It followed the construction of the mainland parking lot and new restroom facilities. Phases to follow include the restoration of the outbuildings, including what is believed to be the only five-sided oil house in the country. Future plans also call for a welcome center and interior restoration of the keeper’s house all in time for the station’s 150th anniversary in 2019.
Those planning to wade across the wet causeway are urged to have water-repellent footwear to avoid injury from rocks and sharp zebra mussels that have been deposited on the causeway.
The museum buildings are open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily with an admission charge and an additional fee charged for the 97-step climb to the top of the tower and its stunning view of Lake Michigan.
Amy Paul, Executive Director