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Lighthouse duties fall to new set of stewards

As GPS units and the automation of navigational tools have rendered traditional lighthouse keepers obsolete, the government has been decommissioning the properties it owns, nearly 50 during the last 10 years, and transferring ownership to new stewards at no cost, preferably non-profit groups.

When it cannot find a proper caretaker, the properties are auctioned to the highest bidder, which has happened 15 times.

Increasingly, history buffs and preservationists, youth groups and investors are stepping up to do what the Coast Guard and old men of the sea have done for ages: tend to the nation's lighthouses.

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