Porter Co. shipwreck site approved as state's first underwater preserve

2013-09-17T10:40:00Z 2013-09-17T23:14:08Z Porter Co. shipwreck site approved as state's first underwater preserveLauri Harvey Keagle lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311 nwitimes.com

The Natural Resource Commission on Tuesday approved the creation of the J.D. Marshall Preserve, a 100-acre shipwreck site just off of the Indiana Dunes State Park shoreline.

The move creates the state's first underwater preserve.

The preserve is named for the sand-hauling ship that sprung a leak, capsized in a 1911 storm and sank, killing four crew members.

An official dedication ceremony hosted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is set for 11 a.m. Sept. 30 at Indiana Dunes State Park.

The preserve will be open for diving. The IDNR plans to work in partnership with the state park for education programs and hopes to work with the Duneland Chamber of Commerce on tourism opportunities centered on the wreck site.

The J.D. Marshall was built in 1891 in South Haven, Mich. and converted from a timber hauler to a sand barge in 1910 after its sister ship, the Muskegon, burned and sank near Mount Baldy in Michigan City.

The J.D. Marshall wreckage was discovered in 1979 by an early explorer of Lake Michigan shipwrecks.

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