LAKESHORE REGIONAL NEWS: Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County

Plans for Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary designation to move ahead

Lakeshore Regional News

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) — In a press event at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Governor Tony Evers announced he has sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in favor of the Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary.

The designation was originally set in motion in 2014 but stalled after former Governor Scott Walker pulled his support for the project in 2018.

The designation would protect, conserve, and enhance public access to a large number of historic shipwrecks.

“This is the reason we’re doing this,” Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels said. “To preserve and protect the shipwrecks that built all of our communities. Their stories need to be told.”

For Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels, establishing the sanctuary has been a decade in the making.

“The City of Manitowoc is the ideal location for the next Great Lakes Marine Sanctuary,” he read at Friday’s event from a letter he wrote to former Governor Jim Doyle in 2009.

Supporters hope the creation of the sanctuary will help drive tourism up and down the coast.

“It will give them [lakeshore communities] the position that they merit,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) said, “that of a premier, national coastal destination.”

The sanctuary would stretch from Port Washington to Algoma.

The shoreline communities of Kewaunee and Algoma had not been included in an earlier proposal for the sanctuary.

“The sanctuary is another way to get Kewaunee county back on the map,” Jennifer Gonzalez, Tourism Director for Kewaunee County said. “We’re hoping that this will attract more divers worldwide just to explore that history and learn something new.”

Property owners along the lakeshore had previously voiced concern over how the designation would impact their properties.

Governor Evers said those concerns have been addressed.

“I met with people that were for this and against this,” he said, “and we’ve addressed as many of those issues as possible in our letter.”

With that letter sent, the next step is to get the sanctuary on the national registry.

Congress will have 50 days to comment before the designation is finalized.

The Wisconsin-Lake Michigan Marine Sanctuary would be the second of its kind in the country.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Coronavirus News

More Coronavirus

Trending Stories

Your Local Election HQ

More Election

Local Sports

Neenah girls bring strong lineup to state tennis

Gamblers captain Tucker leaves mark, becomes all-time assist leader

Fusion Athletics All Abilities Cheer Team heading to Worlds

Gamblers cruise past Saints in regular season home finale

Luke of All Trades: Neenah QB Elkin heading to Iowa as long snapper

Blizzard Report: Green Bay prepares for return to field