01.19.17

Peters, Stabenow Applaud $50,000 Grant for Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow today applauded a $50,000 grant to the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The grant was awarded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for the “Get Into Your Sanctuary” campaign, which supports sustainable tourism and encourages public engagement and stewardship of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a rich and unique part of our Great Lakes history and ecosystem that draws thousands of visitors to Northern Michigan every year,” said Senator Peters, member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “This grant will help boost tourism while educating both tourists and residents on the importance of protecting Thunder Bay and the Great Lakes for future generations.”

“Thunder Bay attracts families and divers across the state and throughout the world to discover and explore our rich maritime heritage,” said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “Congratulations to the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary for this initiative that will attract even more visitors to the Great Lakes.”

“We are honored to receive this grant. Working with local communities, our ‘Get In Your Sanctuary’ program will help build sustainable tourism in the region. We are excited to bring more people to northeast Michigan to experience wonders of the Great Lakes and their rich history in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary,” said Jeff Gray, Superintendent, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Located in Lake Huron, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary was established in 2000 to protect one of the nation’s most historically significant collections of shipwrecks. In 2014, the sanctuary expanded from 448 to 4,300 square miles, making it the nation’s largest marine protected area focused on underwater cultural heritage sites. Within this new boundary are 93 known shipwreck sites, while historic research indicates as many 100 additional sites in the area remain undiscovered.

Senators Stabenow and Peters previously introduced bipartisan legislation to recognize historically significant underwater areas in the Great Lakes as National Marine Sanctuaries, which would increase tourism and boost Michigan’s economy. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Assessment Act would build on the designation of Thunder Bay in Alpena and direct the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to recommend the designation of national marine sanctuaries in the Great Lakes.