Governor Engler Participates in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve Dedication Ceremony

Contact: John Truscott (517) 335-6397

On Saturday, Oct. 7, Governor John Engler participated in a dedication ceremony that made Michigan history. The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, located off the shores of Lake Huron, is the very first fresh water sanctuary, and the first of ten Michigan underwater preserves dedicated to discovering and protecting shipwrecks in the Thunder Bay area.

The ceremony announced a new state/federal partnership to protect and preserve the more than 100 shipwrecks located in Thunder Bay.

"In addition to producing a lasting historical legacy, Thunder Bay also serves as a unique new model for federal and state relations," said Governor Engler. "The State of Michigan and the federal government will be equal partners in bringing the past closer to Michigan citizens and visitors from across the nation."

The Sanctuary and Preserve stretches from the Alpena County borders out into Lake Huron some 448 square miles. Presently, only about 40 of the estimated 116 ships resting in the Bay have actually been located. However, the prospect of a Visitors Center where the public can view archaeological work in progress, via remote cameras, will bring the wonders of Michigan's maritime past to the present.

Fishing and boating enthusiasts will still be able to enjoy their respective sports without governmental interference. Likewise, the addition of the Sanctuary and Preserve will bolster Alpena's tourism industry.

Thunder Bay will also serve as a lasting tribute to the mariners and coastal communities of the Great Lakes.