Dr. William Anderson, director of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL), today announced the appointment of State Archaeologist John R. Halsey to the Joint Management Committee administering the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Preserve off the coast of Alpena. Halsey, who represents Michigan on the federal-state committee, will serve a two-year term expiring Jan. 1, 2005. The other member of the Joint Management Committee is Daniel J. Basta, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Sanctuary Program.
"The unique federal-state partnership at Thunder Bay presents a tremendous opportunity to teach people about Great Lakes maritime history, and John Halsey's experience makes him an ideal choice to help oversee this effort," said Dr. Anderson. "John has played a pivotal role in the protection and interpretation of Michigan's underwater archaeological heritage, with more than 20 years dedicated to the Thunder Bay region. I know that someone with John's background and integrity will expertly fulfill the role."
The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve was designated in October 2000 to protect a nationally significant collection of underwater cultural resources. The sanctuary, co-managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the state of Michigan
, contains an estimated 116 shipwrecks, spanning more than a century and a half of Great Lakes shipping history. Part of a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries, Thunder Bay is the first freshwater sanctuary and only the second sanctuary to focus solely on the protection of historic shipwrecks.
A recent scientific expedition to Thunder Bay by Dr. Robert Ballard's Institute for Exploration obtained hours of high-definition video for future shipwreck interpretation and research. It also laid the groundwork for providing an eventual live underwater video transmission from a shipwreck to an interpretive center. Later this year, new interpretive exhibits will be featured at Sanctuary headquarters at 145 Water St. in Alpena.