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Press Releases

Oct. 30, 2012

Lauren Heesemann

NOAA Launches Outer Banks
Maritime Heritage Trail Website

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has launched a new website that takes visitors on a virtual tour of North Carolina's Outer Banks. The website highlights the area's natural environment and maritime heritage and features a virtual journey along Highway 12 from Whalebone Junction in Nags Head to the southern tip of Hatteras Island.

"Monitor National Marine Sanctuary is part of the rich maritime history of the Outer Banks," said David Alberg, superintendent. "NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries developed this project to promote heritage tourism in coastal North Carolina and support local communities." The new website can be accessed at

Currently, the website includes 10 videos that feature iconic locations such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, and Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, as well as historically significant shipwrecks located off the coast of the Outer Banks. In addition, the website's "Oral Histories" section features eye-witness accounts from local residents who lived in the area when German submarines attacked U.S. and Allied vessels off the Outer Banks during World War II.

"We're extremely pleased to launch this website," Alberg said. "The Outer Banks is a confluence of diverse environments and cultures, and strong maritime heritage. We look forward to working with other organizations in order to expand this online resource and continue to highlight what this special place has to offer."

The site of the USS Monitor shipwreck, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was designated as the nation's first marine sanctuary on Jan. 30, 1975. Creation of the sanctuary, located 16 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., has helped ensure the long-term protection of the wreck site of the famed Civil War ironclad for all generations.

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