SALEM — The Newburyport Five Cents Savings Charitable Foundation has granted $5,000 to Essex National Heritage Commission for sustainability initiatives at Bakers Island Light Station in Salem. 

The grant will help pay for upgrades to the solar power electrical system and camping area. The money will also go toward a water purification station and composting facilities.

“We are thrilled that, through this generous contribution from Newburyport Bank, we will be able to improve the quality of the site for our visitors, and our summer lighthouse caretakers out at Bakers Island Light,” said Annie Harris, CEO of Essex Heritage, which owns the lighthouse. 

The island has a couple of campsites where visitors can set up tents. But Essex Heritage wants to establish a shed where people can store their belongings, a system to collect rain water from the roof, and composting toilets. 

Essex Heritage plans to make the changes next summer, as "it is surprisingly difficult to get everything out to the island," Harris said.

Lloyd Hamm Jr., president and CEO of Newburyport Bank, said the institution sees itself as both steward and beneficiary of its heritage in the seacoast region. 

“We are proud that our donation will be used to protect, innovate, and make more efficient this important historical site,” he said. 

Positioned at the northwest edge of the 60-acre island, Bakers Island Light Station changed ownership from the U.S. government to Essex Heritage in August 2014. 

While the Light Station and the 10 acres it sits on is owned by the Essex Heritage, the rest of Bakers Island is privately owned and there is no public access. The island is home to roughly 55 summer homes.   

Visitors can register for a guided tour of the Island's Light Station by sailing on Essex Heritage's landing craft, Naumkeag. Tours are scheduled between June and September. 

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-338-2527 or tbradford@northofboston.com.

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