County seeks inclusion in Marine Sanctuary
Kewaunee County Supervisor Lee Luft is leading an effort to have Kewaunee County and its shipwrecks included in the Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary being proposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Announced by President Barack Obama earlier this year, the sanctuary has been proposed from Port Washington north along the Lake Michigan shoreline and would include Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers. The area contains 39 known shipwrecks of interest to divers.
But Luft contacted U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble last month and asked that the boundary be extended north to include Kewaunee County and its shipwrecks. Ribble sent a letter to the federal agency Tuesday asking that Kewaunee County’s shipwrecks be included in the sanctuary.
In the letter, Ribble noted that Kewaunee had recently received approval of its harbor seawall project and “is primed to welcome and celebrate the marine sanctuary as plans have been drafted for the restoration of the Pierhead lighthouse and pedestrian walkway.”
Luft is also meeting with the Kewaunee County Historical Society board at 10 a.m. Saturday to ask them for support. Two Kewaunee County shipwrecks – the Daniel Lyons and the America – were recently listed on both the state and National Registers of Historic Places.
The designation was given to the two shipwrecks off Kewaunee’s shores because they were well-preserved, underwater cannallers, which carried grain from ports in the Great Lakes and were designed to fit through the Welland canal locks that bypassed Niagara Falls, according to Tamara Thomsen, maritime archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society.
There are also several other shipwrecks off the Kewaunee County coast of interest to divers, according to Richard Dorner, director of the Kewaunee County Historical Society.
Luft said that inclusion in the sanctuary would recognize Kewaunee’s important maritime history and draw divers and other tourists to the area.
Congressman Ribble is hosting a public hearing on the proposed sanctuary from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, 75 Maritime Drive, Manitowoc. Kewaunee County residents interested in supporting the county’s inclusion in the proposed sanctuary are urged to attend, Luft said.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: County seeks inclusion in Marine Sanctuary