Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Lake Michigan Shipwrecks May Join National Marine Sanctuary


The 80-mile section of Lake Michigan off the coast of Wisconsin — between Two Rivers and Port Washington — boasts many famous shipwrecks, marking hundreds of historical tragedies.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed these waters have been accepted into the inventory of areas being considered for future designation as a National Marine Sanctuary.

"When Congress approves NOAA to expand and put together another sanctuary, we will be considered," Tamara Thomsen was quoted as saying in a article. Thomsen is a maritime archeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society who helped prepare research for the nomination.

The proposed, 875-square-mile sanctuary would be located along 80 miles of Wisconsin shoreline, near the cities of Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers. The boundary extends 9 to 14 miles into the lake, according to the article.

If this shipwreck graveyard is approved, it would be the second designated area in the Great Lakes, along with the Thunder Bay sanctuary in Lake Huron, and the 14th marine sanctuary in the nation.

The proposed area would include 122 reported vessel losses and 34 known shipwrecks with construction dates between 1833 to 1913, the article stated. This area contains the two oldest Wisconsin shipwrecks known to date, as well as 15 wrecks that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Rouse Simmons and Walter B. Allen. The wrecks can be found in water depths ranging from 10 to 460 feet.

The designation process typically takes three to five years.

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Photo caption: Location of the proposed Wisconsin sanctuary and distribution of shipwrecks in the vicinity.

South Shore JUN17