WASHINGTON — In an effort to save the candy-striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which has guarded the treacherous coast known as the "graveyard of the Atlantic" for 119 years, the National Park Service Wednesday proposed moving the lighthouse one-half mile inland.
Unless the government acts, officials said, the North Carolina landmark, the tallest lighthouse in the country, will be washed into the ocean.
The Park Service said the $8.7-million proposal to save the 2,800-ton, 208-foot lighthouse by jacking it up and moving it on rails appears to be the best of several proposals to preserve the historic tower.
"We're not going to hold back the sea. . . . We had no choice but to retreat," said Orrin Pilkey, a Duke University geologist and a leading North Carolina environmentalist who is also an authority on beach erosion.