With a special meeting coming up regarding a proposed Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary, Kewaunee County officials are asking local artists to help them showcase the county’s coastal beauty.

“We are blessed to be located on Lake Michigan,” said Jennifer Schneider, county tourism coordinator/public information officer, in a news release. “We have so many talented artists in Kewaunee County; this is their chance to shine and display their work.”

The county has created an informational web page titled “National Marine Sanctuary” to provide details about the proposal. A “Call for Art” link is part of that page.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has scheduled an informational meeting about the proposed marine sanctuary for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, March 13, at Knudson Hall, 620 Lake St., Algoma. County officials plan to have a showcase of local artists that evening.

An 875-square-mile area of Lake Michigan from Two Rivers to Port Washington has been nominated as a national marine sanctuary, which aim “seek to preserve the extraordinary scenic beauty, biodiversity, historical connections and economic productivity of our most precious underwater treasures.” A number of Kewaunee County officials advocate extending the nomination northward as a potential boon to local tourism.

“Of the 3,144 counties in the entire United States, only about 70 are fortunate enough to be situated on one of the Great Lakes, and of course Kewaunee County is one of those fortunate few,” said Supervisor Lee Luft. “There is only one other Great Lakes Marine Sanctuary, on Lake Huron, and the communities near to this sanctuary continue to benefit from the increased attention.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher has sent a letter of recommendation to the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries backing the inclusion of Kewaunee County, which he notes has a number of known shipwrecks popular with divers, including the Daniel Lyons and the America, which are on the state and national registers of historic places.

“I firmly believe the Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary would be incomplete without the inclusion of the Kewaunee County shoreline,” Gallagher wrote. “Out of respect to those who lost their lives in the shipwrecks, we must honor these historical national treasures.”

Kewaunee County “National Marine Sanctuary” page