Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Mission statement

To sustainably promote and preserve the maritime historical and underwater natural resources in the Straits of Mackinac area by enhancing diver safety and access to the shipwrecks in the preserve, and through education, stewardship, research, fund raising and philanthropy.

Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve is an all volunteer non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Straits Preserve brochure pdf: straits brochure pdf 5.29.17

Establishment

NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 451 of 1994
324.76111 Great Lakes bottomlands preserve; establishment; rules; determination; factors; granting permit to recover abandoned artifacts; limitation; intentional sinking of vessel; prohibited use of state money; Thunder Bay Great Lakes state bottomland preserve.

Sec. 76111.

(1) Subject to subsection (7), the department of environmental quality shall establish Great Lakes bottomlands preserves by rule. A Great Lakes bottomlands preserve shall be established by emergency rule if it is determined by the department that this action is necessary to immediately protect an object or area of historical or recreational value.

(2) A Great Lakes bottomlands preserve may be established whenever a bottomlands area includes a single watercraft of significant historical value, includes 2 or more abandoned watercraft, or contains other features of archaeological, historical, recreational, geological, or environmental significance. Bottomlands areas containing few or no watercraft or other features directly related to the character of a preserve may be excluded from preserves.

(3) In establishing a Great Lakes bottomlands preserve, the department of environmental quality shall consider all of the following factors:

(a) Whether creating the preserve is necessary to protect either abandoned property possessing historical or recreational value, or significant underwater geological or environmental features.

(b) The extent of local public and private support for creation of the preserve.

(c) Whether a preserve development plan has been prepared by a state or local agency.

(d) The extent to which preserve support facilities such as roads, marinas, charter services, hotels, medical hyperbaric facilities, and rescue agencies have been developed in or are planned for the area.

(4) The department of environmental quality and the department of history, arts, and libraries shall not grant a permit to recover abandoned artifacts within a Great Lakes bottomlands preserve except for historical or scientific purposes or when the recovery will not adversely affect the historical, cultural, or recreational integrity of the preserve area as a whole.

(5) An individual Great Lakes bottomlands preserve shall not exceed 400 square miles in area. Great Lakes bottomlands preserves shall be limited in total area to not more than 10% of the Great Lakes bottomlands within this state. However, the limitations provided in this subsection do not apply to the Thunder Bay Great Lakes bottomland preserve established in subsection (7).

(6) Upon the approval of the committee, not more than 1 vessel associated with Great Lakes maritime history may be sunk intentionally within a Great Lakes bottomlands preserve. However, state money shall not be expended to purchase, transport, or sink the vessel.

(7) The Thunder Bay Great Lakes state bottomland preserve established under R 299.6001 of the Michigan administrative code shall have boundaries identical with those described in 15 C.F.R. 922.190 for the Thunder Bay national marine sanctuary and underwater preserve. As long as the Thunder Bay national marine sanctuary and underwater preserve remains a designated national marine sanctuary, the right and privilege to explore, survey, excavate, and regulate abandoned property of historical or recreational value found upon or within the lands owned by or under control of the state within those boundaries shall be jointly managed and regulated by the department of environmental quality and the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. However, this subsection shall not be construed to convey any ownership right or interest from the state to the federal government of abandoned property of historical or recreational value found upon or within the lands owned by or under control of the state.

Board of Directors

  • Doug Coffin, President
  • Cliff Roberts, Vice President
  • Dan Friedhoff, Secretary
  • Keith Knecht, Member
  • Joe Lavender, Member
  • Larry McElroy, Member
  • Frank Aloia, Member
  • Janet Peterson, Treasurer / Emeritus Member
  • Craig Passeno, Emeritus Member
  • Chuck Feltner, Emeritus Member
  • Larry Sanders, Emeritus Member