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Trinidad Bay Lighthouse Threatened by Coastal Erosion Is at Center of Conflict Between Town and Tribes

Trinidad Civic Club volunteers Patti Fleschner, left, Mary Kline and Gary Stillman, top, clean the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse at its temporary location near the parking lot for Trinidad Harbor. It was moved from its original bluff-top location because of a slow-moving landslide.(Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Trinidad Civic Club volunteers Patti Fleschner, left, Mary Kline and Gary Stillman, top, clean the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse at its temporary location near the parking lot for Trinidad Harbor. It was moved from its original bluff-top location because of a slow-moving landslide.(Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

It stood like a pretty sea siren atop the coastal bluff overlooking the rocky outcrops of Trinidad Bay.

The cheery little lighthouse, with its cherry-red roof and bright white walls, beckoned countless painters and photographers. It was such a mainstay in Trinidad that its image is included in the city’s logo.

Then the ground began to crumble. Rain moved the earth. The bluff cracked, a sidewalk warped, and thus ended the charmed life of the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, which suddenly threatened to slide into the Pacific.

What followed was a drama in this Humboldt County hamlet, population 360, involving two Native American tribes, a women’s civic club and existential questions about California’s storied coastline and the forces of climate change.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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