LETTER: NOAA sanctuary plan is more about tourism than shipwrecks

To Ozaukee Press:

In an Ozaukee Press news story about Gov. Walker rescinding his approval of the proposed Lake Michigan sanctuary, Kathy Tank, executive director of the Port Washington Tourism Council, let the cat out of the bag. NOAA led everyone to believe the sanctuary’s ”narrow focus” was to protect the shipwrecks. Ms. Tank revealed that “it was about bringing resources we don’t have to the area. That’s more the point than extra protection.”

Some creative thinking is needed to generate Port’s tourism. Two Creeks has an annual kite festival that draws 30,000 people in one weekend.

Alpena, Mich., is the home of NOAA’s Thunder Bay Sanctuary. NOAA’s claim that Alpena tourism has “soared with an estimated 100,000 visitors annually” is specious.  There is no mention of Alpena in the Midwest Living’s 108-page Michigan Travel Guide other than one line in the index—not what one would expect 17 years after the sanctuary designation and an alleged 100,000 annual visitors.

In the Ozaukee Press article, Tish Hase, referring to Wisconsin’s sunken shipwrecks, laments that “it’s very sad nobody wants to preserve the history down below.” Ms. Hase  should check out the Wisconsin Historical Society.  For over 30 years, they’ve been cataloging Wisconsin’s shipwrecks, building maritime trails for tourism and providing interpretive signage. At wisconsinshipwrecks.org there are underwater videos, historic photos and archeological discoveries. They care, and I’m sure they’d appreciate a (tax-deductible) donation.

Doug Hamilton



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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