Thumb Area Bottomland Preserve

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Thumb Area Underwater Preserve
Relief map of USA Michigan.png
Red pog.svg
Location within the state of Michigan
Location Lake Huron, Huron County, Michigan USA
Nearest city Port Austin, Michigan
Coordinates 44°01′24″N82°46′16″W / 44.0232°N 82.771°W / 44.0232; -82.771 Coordinates: 44°01′24″N82°46′16″W / 44.0232°N 82.771°W / 44.0232; -82.771
Area276 square miles (710 km2)
Governing body Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Thumb Area Underwater Preserve is a preservation area in Lake Huron in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is 276 square miles (710 km2) in size and is located off Michigan's Thumb north of Detroit. [1]

Contents

Description

The Thumb Area Underwater Preserve protects bottomlands off Pointe aux Barques and the beach port towns of Harbor Beach, Huron City, and Port Austin. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has counted 10 known shipwrecks within the boundaries protected by the preserve. [1]

As in most of the Great Lakes, most of the shipwrecks predate the consolidation of federal marine safety services into the United States Coast Guard in 1915.

The foundered SS Daniel J. Morrell, a lake freighter which split in two and sank in 1966 with a loss of 28 lives, also lies off the shore of Michigan's Thumb, but outside the boundaries of the Underwater Preserve.

The Underwater Preserve protects a network of limestone sea caves off Port Austin. Near Port Austin is the largely depopulated former town of Grindstone City, where grindstones were quarried. Some of the specialized stones were lost overboard near the quarries and can be seen underwater as of 2009. [1]

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Huron County, Michigan U.S. county in Michigan

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M-25 is a state trunkline highway in the US state of Michigan. The route follows an arc-like shape closely along the Lake Huron shore of the Thumb in the eastern Lower Peninsula between Port Huron and Bay City. It serves the lakeshore resorts along Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay and generally lies within sight of the lake and the bay. All is surface road and generally scenic, except for the freeway segment near the junction with Interstate 75 (I-75) and connection into the US Highway 10 (US 10) freeway.

The Thumb

The Thumb is a region and a peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan, so named because the Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten. The Thumb area is generally considered to be in the Central Michigan region, east of the Tri-Cities and north of Metro Detroit. The region is also branded as the Blue Water Area.

Marquette Underwater Preserve

The Marquette Underwater Preserve was established in 1990 to promote conservation of the submerged historical resources in Lake Superior near Marquette, Michigan. The Preserve is composed of two separate units, the Marquette Unit and the Huron Islands Unit. The Marquette Unit extends along approximately 24 miles of Michigan shoreline out to the 200-foot depth contour. The Huron Islands Unit surrounds a group of granite peaks about 12 miles from shore. The Michigan Underwater Preserve Council oversees activities relating to all of Michigan's Underwater Preserves.

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Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve

The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve was established to promote conservation of the submerged historical resources in Lake Huron near Port Sanilac, Michigan. The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve spans a total of 163 square miles (420 km2) of Lake Huron. The Michigan Underwater Preserve Council oversees activities relating to all of Michigan's Underwater Preserves.

US Highway 25 (US 25) was a part of the United States Numbered Highway System in the state of Michigan that ran from the Ohio state line near Toledo and ended at the tip of The Thumb in Port Austin. The general routing of this state trunkline highway took it northeasterly from the state line through Monroe and Detroit to Port Huron. Along this southern half, it followed undivided highways and ran concurrently along two freeways, Interstate 75 (I-75) and I-94. Near the foot of the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, US 25 turned north and northwesterly along the Lake Huron shoreline to Port Austin.

Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve Reserve to protect and conserve shipwrecks and historical resources in Lake Superior

The Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve was established in 1987 to protect and conserve shipwrecks and historical resources on 376 square miles (970 km2) of Lake Superior bottomlands in Whitefish Bay and around Whitefish Point, Michigan. The formation of the Michigan Underwater Preserves helped stop controversy over artifact removal from shipwrecks of this area. The preserve is now known for deep, well preserved shipwrecks in clear water accessible to scuba divers with technical skill and experience. The preserve is one of the last places in the Great Lakes to observe shipwrecks without zebra mussel encrustation.

SS <i>Vienna</i> (1873) Steamship sunk after a collision in Lake Superior

The SS Vienna was built in 1873 during the era when steamers were built with sail rigging. She had a 19 year career marked with maritime incidents including sinking when she was just 3 years old. She sank for her final time in fair weather in Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior after she received a mortal blow when she was inexplicably rammed by the steamer Nipigon. Although no lives were lost when the Vienna sank for the last time, more than 100 years later her wreck claimed the lives of 4 scuba divers, the most of all the wrecks in the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve that now protects her as part of an underwater museum. Her wreck was stripped of artifacts that resulted in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources seizing her artifacts in a raid on the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in 1992. Her artifacts are now on display in this museum as loan from the State of Michigan.

<i>Sagamore</i> (barge)

The Sagamore is reported to be the best example of a whaleback barge among Great Lakes shipwrecks. Only 44 whalebacks were ever built, and out of the 26 that sank, only 8 sank in the Great Lakes, most of them being blown up for blocking shipping channels. She sank in 1901 in the shipping lane near the Soo Locks when she was rammed by the steel steamer Northern Queen in one of Whitefish Bay's notorious fogs. Her captain and two crew members went down with her. Artifacts from her wreck were illegally removed in the 1980s. Her artifacts are now the property of the State of Michigan and are on display as a loan to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The wreck of the Sagamore is protected as part of an underwater museum in the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve.

De Tour Passage Underwater Preserve

The DeTour Passage Underwater Preserve is a preservation area in the U.S. state of Michigan. Located in Lake Huron, it completely surrounds Drummond Island and includes all of DeTour Passage and adjacent sections of Lake Huron and the St. Mary's River.

Keweenaw Underwater Preserve

The Keweenaw Underwater Preserve is a preservation area in the U.S. state of Michigan. Located in Lake Superior, it protects waters that lie offshore Keweenaw Peninsula.

Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve

The Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve is a preservation area in the U.S. state of Michigan. Located in Lake Michigan, it protects a five-mile-wide strip of water offshore from Michigan's Allegan, Berrien, and Van Buren Counties. These waters include the waters offshore the port towns of Benton Harbor, Holland, St. Joseph, and South Haven, all in Michigan. Many wrecks litter these waters.

Grand Traverse Bay Bottomland Preserve

The Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve is a preservation area that encompasses all of Grand Traverse Bay, a bay of Lake Michigan, in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is 295 square miles (760 km2) in size and is located off Traverse City, Michigan.

SS <i>Myron</i>

SS Myron was a wooden steamship built in 1888. She spent her 31-year career as lumber hooker, towing schooner barges on the Great Lakes. She sank in 1919, in a Lake Superior November gale. All of her 17 crew members were killed but her captain survived. He was found drifting on wreckage near Ile Parisienne. Her tow, the Miztec, survived. Myron defied the adage that Lake Superior "seldom gives up her dead" when all 17 crewmembers were found frozen to death wearing their life jackets. Local residents chopped eight of Myron's sailors from the ice on the shore of Whitefish Bay and buried them at the Mission Hill Cemetery in Bay Mills Township, Michigan.

<i>Miztec</i> (schooner barge)

The Miztec was built as a 3-masted schooner in 1890. She was later converted to a schooner barge and served as a consort for lumber hookers on the Great Lakes. She escaped destruction in a severe 1919 storm that sank her longtime companion, the SS Myron, only to sink on the traditional day of bad luck, Friday the 13th, 1921, with the loss of all hands. She came to rest on Lake Superior's bottom off Whitefish Point near the Myron.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Michigan Underwater Preserves - Sites". Michigan Department of Environmental Quality . Retrieved 2009-07-18.