Roof crew 2008

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Fox Island Lighthouse Association
P.O. Box 851
Traverse City, MI 49685

About Us

The Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA) is a non-profit organization (501(c)(3)) founded in 2004 by Sandy Bradshaw, John McKinney and H. Joerg Rothenberger. Their goal was to rekindle the efforts of former groups for rescuing the South Fox Island light station, which had been abandoned in 1959 and has been threatened by gradual decay ever since.

The FILA board

John McKinney

John McKinney

Traverse City, MI.

Former Seagrant Agent with the Michigan State University, co-founder of the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative (now Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay) and the Maritime Heritage Alliance; expert in just about anything concerning Great Lakes ecology.
FILA co-founder and President.

Catherine F. Allchin

Suttons Bay, Leelanau County, MI

Active with South Fox Light Station since 2002. Yacht broker, member of Maritime Heritage Alliance, Traverse Area Community Sailing (board member for 6 yrs), Recipient of Robert Allor award 2002, Working Mother of the Year 2000. UWGB BA in marketing and graphic design.
FILA Vice President.

Phil von Voigtlander

Phil von Voigtlander

Northport, Leelanau County, MI.

PhD, retired pharmaceutical research director, avid sailor of the Great Lakes. Former chair, now vice chair of the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. Designer and skipper of the Baykeeper tug boat.

Captain of the Islander. FILA Island Project Manager.


Sandy Bradshaw

Sandy Bradshaw

Suttons Bay, Leelanau County, MI.

Writer and feature journalist, specializing in the history of the Great Lakes, environmental and maritime matters. Experienced public relations manager. Active in attempts to preserve the South Fox Island Lighthouse since 1991. FILA co-founder, Past Vice President, Webmaster's Assistant.

John Nelson

John Nelson
Northport, Leelanau County, MI.
US Naval Academy graduate, Master of Science in Education (U of M), chairman of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Coalition for Sensible Growth, Baykeeper for the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay (retired 2016).


Pamela Nickerson

Pamela Nickerson
Grawn, Grand Traverse County, MI
Computer software technical analyst/developer. Family owned and logged S. Fox Island in the 1950's and 1960's. FILA Secretary.  


It is our sad duty to inform you of Pamela's death on February 16, 2018. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.

Hans Joerg Rothenberger

Hans Joerg Rothenberger

Suttons Bay, Leelanau County, MI & Tarasp, Switzerland.

Oral surgeon (retired), physicist, electronics and computer buff. FILA Website putter-togetherer. Seasoned skipper, involved in maritime nature conservation and lighthouse preservation since 1988.

Captain of the Lightkeeper. FILA co-founder.

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Our Boat

Needless to say that, with the object of our efforts being situated 24 nautical miles off the nearest mainland harbors (Charlevoix and Northport), a seaworthy boat is of utmost importance. The Lightkeeper is an old gal but well maintained, albeit a bit too thirsty.

Occasionally we also use boats provided by volunteers. Transportation offers by skilled skippers of well-equipped boats are always welcome.

Last but not least, the National Park Service usually does a work trip with really heavy materials every summer. Thank you very much folks!

 Lightkeeper boat at anchor
Lightkeeper is a 29' Cruisers Villa Vee. With her ample loading capacity and twin inboard engines, she is a workhorse but nice to ride. She is owned by two FILA board members. Her home port is Omena Harbor.

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Our Goals

The Fox Island Lighthouse Association, Inc. is organized exclusively for scientific, educational and charitable purposes.

The purposes of the Fox Island Lighthouse Association, Inc. include preserving and protecting the historic character and landscape of the South Fox Island Light Station [...]; protecting the natural environment of the light station property; the future use of the light station property for education programs of island and maritime history and culture, arts and the study of the ecology of the island of the Great Lakes for the benefit of its membership and the general public; promoting historic preservation, land protection and stewardship on the South Fox Island.

The Fox Island Lighthouse Association, Inc.'s purpose also includes broader activities related to historic preservation, cultural promotion and preservation, environmental education, natural resources conservation, scholarship, environmental policy and scientific research in and around the Great Lakes.  

The Fox Island Lighthouse Association, Inc. seeks active participation in all of these efforts from people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.

Our Mission is ....

".... to preserve and protect the historic South Fox Island Light Station and its natural environment by encouraging community involvement:"

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The Inevitable Legalese Fine Print

The Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA) aims at including only correct and current information. Although we make every effort to keep this information accurate, we cannot guarantee it. We disclaim any liability for the use of this site or any site it links to.

Neither FILA nor any other party involved in producing or publishing this Web site or any Web site it links to, shall be made accountable in any way whatsoever for any direct, circumstantial, consequential, indirect or punitive damage resulting from your access, use or inability to use this Web site or any Web site it links to.

The FILA Web pages may contain forward-looking information, such as oncoming events. Such information may be subject to various uncertainties. Therefore actual results may differ from the presentation on this site.

We have placed all links to external Web sites in good faith. Although we check most of them periodically, links can become dead when sites are removed or when servers are temporarily down. We try to provide links to sites with useful content, however, we cannot be held responsible for any dissatisfaction on the part of the user, let alone changes made to those Web sites that are not controlled by us.

Unless stated otherwise, the copyright of the texts, photos, maps, logo designs etc. on this site is owned by FILA or the FILA members who contributed them. The FILA Website and the information contained are for informational purposes only. Requests for permission to reproduce any information contained on this Web site have to be sent to .

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Latest update March 22, 2019