WMUP Co-chairs John Hanson and Debbie Chase are all smiles from the September 2012 official State designation of the West Michigan Underwater Preserve. The poster is a fundraiser showing the wrecks, geological sites, and the Hamilton Reef, a fish habitat.
The perserverance of area divers has resulted in the dedication of an Underwater Preserve in Lake Michigan.
In 1999, a group of West Michigan divers organized a group with the mission to locally sink a tug as a skin diving attraction and fish habitat. In 2001, they submitted a permit request that the MDEQ rejected. An appeal was also denied. In 2004 they changed the name to the Michigan Artificial Reef Society, organized under a 501.c.3 to request a permit. Again the permit request was denied, appealed and denied.
Not discouraged, in 2006 the divers began working with the Grand Traverse Underwater Preserve and used their organizational pattern to base their research and revision as the West Michigan Underwater Preserve, using the non-profit status of 501.c.3 to cover the Muskegon/West Shore communities.
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