The Pigeon Point Light Station became illuminated for the first time in the fall of 1872. It is located on an island that includes the Pigeon Point Lighthouse State Historic Park and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Located about 50 miles from San Francisco, it is part of a large collection of lighthouses in the state. Visitors to the area can park and view the lighthouse from an area at the Ano Nuevos State Reserve and the lighthouse is also open for tours of the self-guided and docent-led variety. The building has been damaged during storms, so visitors may want to call ahead to see if tours will be available during their visit. The lighthouse stands 115-feet tall and is still considered an active lighthouse. The light from the house is lit by a five-wick lard oil lamp and a Fresnel lens which is made up of over 1,000 prisms. Visitors wishing to gain access to the lens can climb the 136 step iron staircase. Once at the top, they will see a lens that is 16-feet tall, 6-feet in diameter and weighing 8,000 pounds. This original lens is no longer in use, but the lighthouse is still an active part of the U.S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse benefited from the 2000 legislative act, protecting lighthouses and offering money for their preservation and renovation. The National Lighthouse Preservation Act recommended that all lighthouses be transferred to government or non-profit agencies in an attempt to keep them in better shape with government funding.