Boston mayor takes dim view of lighthouse access

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Boston’s Long Island may be part of the Harbor Island National Park, but if you’re not homeless or an inner-city summer camper, Mayor Thomas M. Menino says you’re not welcome there ... and advocates who want access to a historic lighthouse say that has to change.

The largest of the Harbor Islands and deemed a public park by the National Park Service, Long Island serves as both natural wonder and sanctuary to the poor, providing a camp for inner-city children each summer, and a 435-bed shelter to serve the city’s homeless.

But maritime historical experts call Long Island Head Light — nestled at the island’s tip — a local treasure. Built in 1844 and still on duty as a shipping beacon, it was the nation’s first cast-iron lighthouse and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Long Island Head Light is a wonderful asset to the Harbor and the community and it could be used to educate people on maritime history,” said lighthouse historian Jeremy D’Entremont, who has penned several books on local landmarks. “It’s a beautiful spot. I’ve always hoped they would permit public access.”

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