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GLIN==> Press release: Diver-Photog presents 1st NYS Submerged Cultural Preserve in Lake Ontario

Title: Press release: Diver-Photog presents 1st NYS Submerged Cultural Preserve in Lake Ontario
PRESS RELEASE: Use before May 31, 2007
Contact:  Teresa Mitchell or Peggy Morgia, 315-646-1000

Note:  This new exhibit and series begins May 17. The 6:30 pm program on May 17 is by deep water divers Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville, who have discovered hundreds of wrecks in Lake Ontario.
Diver-Photographer Presents 1st NYS Submerged Cultural Preserve
in Lake Ontario at Seaway Trail Discovery Center May 31

Sackets Harbor, NY -- Diver, underwater photographer and Dive the Seaway Trail consultant Philip R. Church will speak about New York State’s first Submerged Cultural Preserve in Lake Ontario on Thursday, May 31 at 6 pm in Sackets Harbor, NY. This program is part of the May 17-September 20 “Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail” exhibit at the Seaway Trail Discovery Center.

Church, director of the Submerged Cultural Resources program of the Oswego Maritime Foundation, helped spearhead the designation of the wreck of the David W. Mills, a 202-foot steambarge, as the state’s first Submerged Cultural Preserve. The Mills was traveling west when she sank four and a half miles east of Oswego on Ford Shoal in 1919.

“Today the Mills rests in twelve to eighteen feet of water and is an excellent dive site for beginning underwater adventurers. Prominent sections of the ship can be explored and the shoal is a habitat for many fish species,” says Church, who assisted the development of “Diving Into History,” a WCNY Public Television documentary about the wreck.

As part of the Dive the Seaway Trail project, a joint effort by Seaway Trail, Inc. and New York Sea Grant, Church is helping to designate four scuba sites for various skill levels in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. The project recruits local stewards to maintain and promote the sites that are described on the website at www.seawaytrail.com.

Church also helped develop Dive the Seaway Trail marketing materials to attract scuba divers who represent an annual economic impact of more than $108 million to New York’s Great Lakes Seaway Trail region (1999 New York Sea Grant study).

“Scuba diving and the opportunity to discover the fascinating collection of shipwrecks found in the Seaway Trail’s waters have become popular travel themes for divers and non-divers who  enjoy maritime history,” says Teresa Mitchell, Seaway Trail, Inc.                                                                                                                                        President and CEO. “We have begun installing the new Seaway Trail maritime heritage theme outdoor interpretive panels at sites Trail-wide to encourage people to travel the full length of our America’s Byway to discover the rich underwater history of the 518-mile coastal region.”

Church says, “The improved water clarity of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail waters has enhanced the visibility of some of the finest diving sites in the Northeastern U.S. The diving experience here ranges from shipwrecks and natural formations to intentionally-sunk vessels of great maritime significance. The cool fresh water has preserved centuries-old ships that would long ago have been destroyed by salt water.”                                                                        

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail Shipwrecks speakers series continues through September 20 with presentations by National Geographic photographer David Doubilet, New York State’s National Register Coordinator Mark Peckham, French Creek Marina owner/operator Wilburt C. Wahl, Jr.; historian Dr. Gary M. Gibson, 1000 Islands Dive Excursions Captain Ken Kozin, and Great Lakes historian and author Frederick Stonehouse.

The new Great Lakes Seaway Trail Shipwrecks exhibit — open daily 10 am to 5 pm - includes an interactive underwater-simulated learning program courtesy of Pennsylvania Sea Grant, a series of interpretive panels, an underwater photography display provided by the Oswego Maritime Foundation, and a collection of reclaimed ship’s anchors on loan from French Creek Marina of Clayton, NY.  

The exhibit is sponsored by the Seaway Trail Foundation, New York and Pennsylvania Sea Grants; TGI Fridays, Watertown; Day’s Inn-Denny’s, Watertown; French Creek Marina, Clayton; Key Bank; the New York State Divers Association and the Social Cultural Committee and Hospitality & Tourism Student Organization of Jefferson Community College, Watertown.

The Seaway Trail Discovery Center, operated by Seaway Trail, Inc. and the Seaway Trail Foundation is in the former Union Hotel built in 1817-1818 and owned by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  

For more information, go to www.seawaytrail.com or call 315-646-1000. # # #