Public meeting scheduled for marine sanctuary

This photo from the shipwrecked America appears on the National Register of Historic Places website.
By Warren Bluhm/Kewaunee County Aggregator

Efforts to include the waters off Kewaunee County in a national marine sanctuary have received a boost with the scheduling of a public information meeting in Algoma.

Supervisor Lee Luft told the County Board this week that he has heard from Russ Green, regional coordinator of proposed Wisconsin Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary, that a meeting is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 13 at Knudson Hall, to discuss the concept and gauge public interest.

The County Board voted unanimously some time ago to recommend Kewaunee County being included in the proposed national marine sanctuary that would also include Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties, Luft said.

“Once a national marine sanctuary has been established, they have proven to be quite a boost to the local economies as people from all over the country, and in fact all over the world, come to dive on some of the recognized sites,” he said. “It turns off that Kewaunee County, off of our shoreline, there’s a very significant number of recognized sites, some of which are on the National Historic Preservation listing.”

The meeting’s purpose would be to inform public about national marine sanctuaries are all about and try to understand community’s sentiment for the idea.

“It’s critically important that if you feel strongly that this could be an advantage for Kewaunee County as it has proven to be for counties in Michigan, where they have the only other Great Lakes marine sanctuary, that they see county representatives there,” Luft said. Local government interest is one of the keys as federal officials determine the sanctuary boundaries, he said.

Two shipwrecks off Kewaunee County are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, according to Wikipedia: The America and the Daniel Lyons, three-masted schooners that sank after collisions with other vessels about four miles off shore. The Lyons went down in 1878 and the America about two years later.