A diver explores the wreck of the Eliza H. Strong vessel. Photo: Michael Lynch.

“Sunken Treasure”: Documentary explores Great Lakes shipwrecks, promotes respectful diving

With hundreds of shipwrecks scattered across the bottom of the Great Lakes, divers have access to an unrivaled underwater playground. The freshwater environment lends itself to preserving shipwrecks so well, some ships look ready to board. Divers tempted to swipe an artifact for their mantle or crank a wheel and pretend to sail away could be fined or even imprisoned. A recent documentary aims to educate those with misguided intentions before it gets that far. “Sunken Treasure: Preserving Michigan’s Shipwrecks” was recently released by the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council to foster respect of Great Lakes shipwrecks and preserve the fragile ecosystems that surround them.

The new logo for Alpena sports the city's new slogan, reference to both the nearby Thunder Bay National Marine Sancutary and the city's brand as a refuge from the stresses of life. Image courtesy Alpena Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Alpena, Mich. “Sanctuary of the Great Lakes”

The Lake Huron city of Alpena, Mich. has adopted a new slogan to promote the community as a place of peace and rejuvenation for visitors. The slogan, “Sanctuary of the Great Lakes,” came out of an effort to develop a brand to attract more tourists, according to city officials. Alpena is home to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, an underwater preserve sheltering an estimated 116 shipwrecks dating from the nineteenth century to the present. “Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is unique in the world,” said Deb Pardike, executive director of the Alpena Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Michigan officials are looking to shipwrecks for an economic boost.  Photo: Joachim S. Müller (Flickr)

Michigan lawmaker seeks to sink ships to raise tourism revenue


Capital News Service

LANSING- Some lawmakers want to sink ships, aircrafts and cement structures in the Great Lakes to spur Michigan tourist revenue. Some tourism officials question if the expensive and lengthy process of cleaning and sinking a vessel or aircraft will provide enough economic revenue. Others are concerned about environmental impacts. But with nearly 10,000 shipwrecks at the bottom of the Great Lakes, recreational diving is already a popular activity in the state. “Recreational diving tourism is a huge tax revenue source in other states such as Florida and California,” said Rep. Greg MacMaster, R-Kewadin.