Welcome A New Sanctuary: Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary

A 962-square mile area of Lake Michigan, named Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary, was designated by NOAA in August 2021 with support from diverse organizations and individuals at local, state, regional, and national levels. Co-managed with the state of Wisconsin, the sanctuary protects and celebrates the region’s maritime cultural heritage while creating unique research, educational, recreational, and tourism opportunities. Spanning the 1800s through the early 20th century, the sanctuary's shipwrecks represent a cross-section of vessels that played an essential role in the growth of the nation.

The sanctuary designation was driven by communities here in Wisconsin. The sanctuary will help to promote heritage tourism and recreation on a national stage, and create impactful partnerships with cultural institutions, local and state tourism bureaus, conservation organizations, educators, and others.

Russ Green, Great Lakes regional coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Kid stirring a ship
The sanctuary brings opportunities for educational programming and community engagement. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA