Article Posted: April 12, 2003

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SANDUSKY, OH -- Three public meetings will be held later this month
in the Sandusky area, allowing the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
(ODNR) to share its newly designed plans for the Lake Erie Islands
Underwater Preserve. The preserve will include a number of shipwrecks
between Kelleys Island and the Bass Islands.
ODNR representatives will present plans for the new underwater
preserve on Wednesday, April 23, in the Emergency Operations Center, Ottawa
County Courthouse, 315 Madison Street, Port Clinton; Thursday, April 24, at
the Kelleys Island Old Town Hall; and Friday, April 25, at the Put-in-Bay
Village Town Hall on South Bass Island. All three meetings are scheduled
from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
"Input received last year from Ottawa and Erie county residents and
others during a series of public meetings helped ODNR refine earlier
proposals for an underwater preserve in the Lake Erie islands area," said
Dave Mackey, chief of the ODNR Office of Coastal Management.
The 42-square-mile preserve will run from the east side of the
Kelleys Island Shoal westerly to near the east side of the Bass Islands and
north to near Lake Erie's Ohio-Canadian border. The preserve will encompass
numerous historic shipwrecks along with significant underwater geological
features such as glacial grooves.
Three additional shipwreck sites lying outside the preserve boundary
in the waters surrounding Kelleys Island will be designated separately.
These sites, now extensively mapped and surveyed, contain the wrecks of the
F.H. Prince, the Adventure and the W.R. Hanna.
ODNR supports an underwater preserve in the Erie Islands in order to
foster public awareness of the lake's sunken historic treasures and Ohio's
rich maritime history. The preserve will be laid out with existing
navigational buoys marking all boundaries.
"This layout will aid boaters in being able to easily determine
where the preserve system is located and will eliminate the requirement for
additional buoys to outline the preserve," Mackey said.
Interest in a preserve designation has already led to the first
archaeological surveys and documentation of Ohio shipwrecks, according to
Franco Ruffini, a preservation officer with the Ohio Historical Society.
"Designation of a preserve system is the culmination of considerable
effort on the part of ODNR and numerous individuals and organizations
interested in protecting Lake Erie's historically significant shipwrecks,"
said Ruffini, who is also a member of the state's Submerged Lands Advisory
Council. "Underwater preserves have proven to be an important economic
resource for their host communities, attracting divers from great

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