Federal regulators are renewing Erie’s application for a National Maritime Sanctuary designation for another five years.
But local supporters are hoping for the title to be in place by the end of the year.
The area under consideration extends from New York to Ohio and out to the international border.
It would treat the waters of Lake Erie as a national park which would attract thousands of visitors hoping to learn more about the nearly 200 ship wrecks in our area.
“This is an opportunity to protect the maritime assets that are on the bottom of the lake. But it also is an opportunity to share the stories of our maritime heritage, not just in the region, but possibly with the world,” said Honey Stempka, Erie County Department of Planning.
There are currently 14 maritime sanctuaries across the United States.