GRAND MARAIS — Have you ever wanted to live at a lighthouse?
The Au Sable Light House located on the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore recruits live–in volunteers to stay at the lighthouse each summer and part of the fall season. You live free of charge but you do have to work for your keep; Talking to guests, answering questions and giving tours. For the current lighthouse keepers, Pat and Michael Kaas from Virginia, it’s not really work at all.
“I really like talking to the people and see who is coming through, where they are from and I love the remoteness and the quietness, it’s a beautiful place,” said Pat Kaas, live-in lighthouse volunteer.
“We want people who like to talk to people and not too shy, even if they are, once they get here, they get over that,” added Ranger, Susan Reece, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
The live–in volunteer apartment is on the second floor and comes with head keepers quarters. It includes a functional kitchen, indoor bathroom, living room and a bedroom. But the view and history of lighthouses are a draw that keeps volunteers, volunteering.
“I have been talking to people who want to climb to the top of the lighthouse, for many it is the first time they have been up in a lighthouse. It is very interesting just talking to them about their impressions, the view, learning about the unique geology and of course, the million dollar view on top of the lighthouse,” said Michael Kaas, Lighthouse live–in Volunteer.
Reece adds, “Lake Superior is a very big body of water prone to storms and very dangerous bodies of water and ships leaving Ste Saint Marie hug along the shore line. Here at Au Sable there is a two–mile sandstone reef that goes out and it is very shallow. A lot of times the rock is just a few feet below the surface of the water. If ships didn’t know about this they would run aground.”
Volunteers live for a month at a time at the Au Sable lighthouse. Au Sable Day is this Saturday Sept. 19th, the $3 dollar tour fee is waived. For more information click here.