Chesterton Tribune



J.D. Marshall Underwater Preserve at State Park to be dedicated Monday

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The public is invited to help the Indiana Department of Natural Resources dedicate the state’s first nature preserve at a shipwreck site at 11:00 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at Indiana Dunes State Park.

The J.D. Marshall Nature Preserve comprises 100 acres in Lake Michigan, located 600 yards off shore from the park’s beach. The J.D. Marshall, a 154-foot long, steam-powered sand barge built in 1891, sank in a storm on June 11, 1911. Four crew members died and seven survived.

Nature-preserve status is intended to promote public understanding and appreciation of the J.D. Marshall and Indiana shipwrecks in general.

The status also offers new protections to the site in addition to existing protections offered under Indiana’s archaeological laws.

Fishing is permitted in the preserve by canoe, kayak, or any boat with a draft of fewer than eight feet but anchoring in the preserve is prohibited. Mooring buoys will be provided for dive and fishing boats to tie off.

Preserve boundaries will be identified by seasonally placed buoys. NOAA nautical charts will be updated to show the preserve.

Information on the wreck and artifacts from it are available at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center. The park also offers regular educational programs on shipwrecks in Lake Michigan.

The whereabouts of 14 shipwreck sites in Indiana’s portion of Lake Michigan are known and have been documented by archaeologists.

Many more ships sank in Indiana’s 241 square miles but most underwater wreckage has been swallowed by sand or flattened by waves and ice.


Posted 9/26/2013