Great Lakes
The Rouse Simmons, also known as the Christmas Tree Ship sank in Lake Michigan Nov. 23, 1912. Photo courtesy of Tamara Tomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society

WI - 'The fun part starts now': Leaders plan next steps for Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast along Lake Michigan

MANITOWOC – Community leaders are celebrating the creation of the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary this weekend along with the national leader of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast marine sanctuary was designated in June and came into effect in August. It is the 15th marine sanctuary designated by NOAA and covers 962 square miles of Lake Michigan, which includes 36 known shipwrecks and spans four counties — Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Ozaukee.

NOAA has already been busy with a variety of activities in the new sanctuary, including extensively mapping out the known shipwrecks and coastal configurations within the sanctuary’s boundaries.

Nickels said he has also heard about talks to create tours and diving excursions for the public.

“The fun part starts now,” Nickels said. “It’s really about how can we expand upon this and how can we create something that is going to be a real destination for a lot of people … and those are going to be some cool conversations with both the federal and the state government involved.”

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