The J. D. Marshall Preserve
In 2014, the J. D. Marshall was designated as a nature preserve. The J.D. Marshall Preserve is the first underwater preserve in Indiana and is based around the J.D. Marshall shipwreck site. The ship sank on June 11, 1911.
Why designate this as a State dedicated nature preserve? State dedicated nature preserves are usually on land, but many include portions of ponds and lakes, and a few include entire lakes. Some nature preserves also include cultural features. Nature preserves can be established for a variety of reasons, and one of those reasons (per the Nature Preserves Act, IC 14-31-1) is to promote understanding and appreciation of cultural values by the people of the State of Indiana.
What does it mean to be a nature preserve? State dedicated nature preserves are given the highest amount of protection a tract of land can have within Indiana. The intent is to keep the preserve from any threats or conversion to another use. In this case, that means trying primarily to keep the J D Marshall in an undisturbed condition.
Why protect a shipwreck? Shipwrecks are more than just wood and steel beams. They tell an important story about past events and about the people who lived before us. They provide information regarding our economic, technological, and cultural history, and give us insight into early survival on the Great Lakes. Shipwrecks represent both archaeological and artistic values, and show us how the decisions we make today can affect future generations. If we preserve shipwrecks, they will be available for many to see and study for years to come.
How will I know where the boundary of the preserve is located? The boundary of the preserve will be denoted by seasonally-placed marker buoys at the corners and along the northern edge. In addition, the NOAA nautical charts will be updated to include the boundary.
Can I still fish in the preserve? Yes, paddling by canoe or kayak and fishing by boat with a draft less than 8 feet are both allowed; however, no anchoring is permitted by any vessels within the boundaries of the preserve for the protection of the shipwreck and surrounding debris field. DNR may place mooring buoys for fishing or diving (one boat per buoy permitted) within the boundary of the nature preserve. Use of the preserve for paddling and fishing are subject to preserve rules established by the Administrator and also subject to state fishing regulations.