National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Applauds Wisconsin Gov. Evers for Support of Lake Michigan Sanctuary

Silver Spring, Md. – November 1, 2019 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation President and CEO Kris Sarri released the following statement: 

“The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation applauds Governor Tony Evers for working with Wisconsin communities to preserve their cultural heritage and support community engagement in conservation. 

“Wisconsin’s maritime heritage represents a legacy of exploration, trade, and commerce that led to the prosperity and expansion of our nation. A national marine sanctuary will preserve Lake Michigan shipwrecks and cultural artifacts that represent the tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit of our country. Wisconsin can be proud of sharing that legacy with the rest of the United States. 

“From its inception as a community-submitted nomination with the state of Wisconsin in 2014, the local leaders have supported the need to protect this nationally-significant collection of shipwrecks, to connect children to Great Lakes history and science education, and to support tourism and jobs in their communities. A diverse coalition of organizations and individuals at local, state, regional, and national levels, including elected officials, businesses, museums, and environmental, recreational, conservation, tourism, and educational groups endorse the designation of a national marine sanctuary. 

“The Governor’s announcement today alongside Senator Baldwin in support of the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary demonstrates their dedication to finding solutions that will build bridges and to create new opportunities for partnerships and investment.

“The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation looks forward to working with local communities, the state of Wisconsin, the congressional delegation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the designation of Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary so this site can receive the national recognition it deserves.”


About the proposed sanctuary

The proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary would protect and conserve more individually listed shipwrecks on the National Register of Historic Places than any other state. This section of Lake Michigan possesses exceptional historic, archaeological, and recreational value, including two of Wisconsin’s oldest wrecks to date as well as shipwrecks in rare condition with several almost completely intact preserved due to its icy cold clean waters. And there are still more waters to explore and more shipwrecks to discover. 

Wisconsin-­Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary will foster opportunities for exploration, education, and research. Coastal communities will utilize innovative and cutting edge technologies; connect maritime museums, state and local parks, and school districts to expand access to Great Lakes curriculum; and advance Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) education to promote job skills and opportunities for the next generation. 

In Summer 2017, the Denis Sullivan tall ship — a re-creation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner — set off on a week-long sail along Lake Michigan to raise public awareness for the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary. In partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Discovery World, Wisconsin Sea Grant, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, the local communities hosted “Get into Your Sanctuary” events at each of the ship’s port stops, bringing nearly 1,000 people out to see the Denis Sullivan and learn about the proposed sanctuary. The Denis Sullivan takes you back in time as you climb aboard its decks and connects coastal communities to their local heritage and history. And when the Denis Sullivan was underway, it was home to 12 educators from Wisconsin and Minnesota, who had the opportunity to live aboard the Denis Sullivan, learn the art of sailing, and gain valuable, hands-on science and maritime heritage experiences to take back to their classrooms in the fall. 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten, Director of Strategic Communications

301.608.3040 x 305.


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the national non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. Working in close partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the trustee of marine sanctuaries and two marine monuments, the Foundation supports scientific research, promotes community stewardship of our environment, and fosters the next generation of ocean guardians. Through our work with national marine sanctuaries and monuments, we protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve America’s maritime heritage. The Foundation has four local chapters that work with Gray’s Reef, Olympic Coast, Monterey Bay and Florida Keys national marine sanctuaries to conserve our ocean through public outreach and education.