What are WI Maritime Trails?The Wisconsin's Maritime Trails program is more than just a traditional "trail." Through Web sites, interpretive signage, public presentations and shipwreck moorings, the Maritime Trails initiative encourages divers, snorkelers, boaters, maritime enthusiasts, and tourists to visit and enjoy Wisconsin's diverse collection of maritime resources. A collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Historical Society and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Sea Grant Institute, the Maritime Trails initiative also seeks to document, preserve and protect the state's submerged archaeological sites.
Maritime RegionsThe Lake Superior, Green Bay/Door County, Mid-Lake Michigan, Lower Lake Michigan, and Inland Waterways Trails wind above and below the waves, encompassing five stretches of Wisconsin's Great Lakes coastline and inland river routes. By providing information about maritime attractions within each region, the Maritime Trails program encourages visitors to explore the shipwrecks, lighthouses, museums, shore-side parks and exhibits, historic vessels and waterfronts of each region.
Find a Wisconsin Maritime Attraction or Research a Shipwreck!The searchable Maritime Trails Resource Database and Wisconsin Shipwreck Database are great places to start planning a trip or learn more about Wisconsin historic shipwrecks. The searchable databases include contact information, hyperlinks and maps for maritime venues, as well as historic data and diving information for shipwrecks.
At the heart of the Maritime Trails are the state's hundreds of historic shipwrecks. Virtual underwater museums, Wisconsin's incredible collection of sunken vessels are extraordinarily well preserved by the Great Lakes' cold, fresh water. The Maritime Trails Program actively works to protect these historic sites for future generations. Historic shipwreck mooring buoys encourage visitation and safe diving, while protecting sites from anchor damage. Additionally, the Wisconsin Historical Society also conducts archaeological surveys on shipwrecks to document and manage these irreplaceable cultural resources.
The Wisconsin Historical Society actively works with the diving public, reminding visitors to please keep shipwreck sites intact for other divers to explore. Title to Wisconsin's historic shipwrecks is held in public trust by the State of Wisconsin. As steward of these unique historical and recreational resources, the Wisconsin Historical Society encourages responsible diver visitation of these sites. Shipwrecks are fragile, non-renewable resources. Please leave these sites intact for future generations. Wisconsin law prohibits unauthorized disturbance or removal of artifacts, structure, cargo, or human remains. Report shipwreck looting at (800) TIP-WDNR.
Outreach and Education
The Wisconsin's Maritime Trails initiative includes outreach and education programs designed for both divers and non-divers of all ages. In addition to this Web site, Society and Sea Grant funded dive guides and publications showcase site maps and archaeological findings. Additionally, Maritime Trails historic markers, museum exhibits, and public programs on Wisconsin's maritime history and nautical archaeology allow residents and visitors to explore the state's historic treasures.
The Wisconsin Historical Society's Maritime Trails program is carried out in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Sea Grant Institute and is assisted by many federal, state and local agencies, chambers of commerce, private businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals promoting historic preservation and heritage tourism. This Web site was produced with funds from the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancement Program, administered through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.