Though about $150,000 has been raised by various Connecticut non-profits to buy Little Gull Island and its historic lighthouse, the fundraising effort has become even more of a challenge to match the latest high bid of $290,000.
But according to Leah Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs from non-profit group Save the Sound, no one has thrown in the towel yet.
“We are still working the phones trying to drum up donations and have our fingers crossed, she said. "Donors have been very generous and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has kindly offered to manage the property. We are all biting our nails and hope the end result protects Little Gull’s special historical and habitat value.”
Non-profit organizations like Save the Sound, the Quebec-Labrador Foundation and the New London Community Foundation have been working with the New London Maritime Society to raise money over the past few weeks to buy the 1-acre island, located between Plum Island and Fishers Island in the Long Island Sound, in order to keep it open to the public. The island is on a list of former Coast Guard lighthouse properties that the U.S. General Services Administration is trying to sell.
Little Gull Island is in a critical foraging area for roseate and least terns, and it is also the home to a historic lighthouse built in 1806. According to gsaauctions.gov, the current bid stands at $290,000 as of 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
Bidding closes on Saturday at 11:19 a.m., according to the listing. The GSA will not release personal information of bidders until the property is deeded.