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Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, MI

National Ocean Service

Overview

Lake Huron's unpredictable weather-its murky fog banks and sudden gales-coupled with rocky shoals helped Thunder Bay earn the unfortunate name of "Shipwreck Alley." During the Great Lakes' 200-year shipping history, scores of vessels ended their careers on the lake floor off Alpena, Michigan. The known wrecks rest as close to the surface as 12 feet and as deep as 180 feet. Some of the wreck sites remain largely intact while other sites are only remnants of vessels' boilers, engines, rudders, windlasses, and anchors. However, the known wrecks are only a small section of the total wreckages that have occured. Many of the wrecks remain undiscovered.

These vessels, preserved in time within the fresh, cold waters of Lake Huron, still have stories to tell of Great Lakes maritime history and commerce, from the earliest explorations to westward expansion in the 1800s and modern day lake trade. Through exploration, education, and research, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve will bring to the American public the lore of Great Lakes maritime heritage.

The recreational activity of diving can be experienced and enjoyed by visitors to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve.

Recreational Activities:

  • BOATING
  • DIVING
  • FISHING
  • INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS
  • PADDLING
  • PHOTOGRAPHY
  • SNORKELING
  • SWIMMING
  • VISITOR CENTER
  • WATER SPORTS
  • WILDLIFE VIEWING

Address:

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve
500 W. Fletcher Street
Alpena,MI,49707
Phone: 989-356-8805
Email: thunderbay@noaa.gov

Directions:

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 448 square miles of northwest Lake Huron, off the northeast coast of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The landward boundary of the sanctuary/preserve is marked by the northern and southern limits of Alpena County, and the sanctuary/preserve extends east from the lakeshore to longitude 83 degrees west. The largest city in the vicinity is Alpena.

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