michiganpreserves.org explains that although the vast inland waterway of the Great Lakes provided natural highway, there were also dangerous, fraught with sudden storms, fog, heavy traffic and shipping companies who cared more about the bottom line than the thousands of schooners, steamers and barges that ended up on the bottom. One generations loss can be another ones treasure, and the Michigan underwater preserve system was created in 1980 to preserve Michigan’s shipwrecks. It’s a felony to remove or disturb artifacts in Michigan’s Great Lakes, and Michigan’s underwater preserve system has grown to include over 2300 square miles of Great Lakes bottomland in twelve underwater preserves.
The first preserve established was the Alger Underwater Diving Preserve:
For ships in trouble on the long southern coast of Lake Superior, harbors of refuge are few. Munising is one of them. The waters off Munising are sheltered by Grand Island and have been the final destination of many ships seeking safe harbor from the fury of the big lake.
The area stretching from just west of Munising to Au Sable Point and including the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the home of the Alger Underwater Preserve. Several major shipwrecks lying within recreational diving limits are found inside its boundaries.
Read on for some of the best wrecks to dive and also check out the state’s underwater preserve pages. We found some nice videos of diving in the Alger Preserve. You can get an excellent overview of Diving the Alger Preserve from Saginaw Underwater Explorers, but this video of a dive on the wreck of the Bermuda is a really immersive treat!