Fishing & Boating News

Key Largo Celebration Ends for America's First Underwater Preserve

by: Andy Newman/Carol Shaughnessy,

Noted divers descended on an iconic underwater statue to mark the 50th anniversary of America's first underwater preserve.
Photo by Andy Newman/Carol Shaughnessy
(Dec. 14, 2010 - Key Largo, Florida Keys) Key Largo Celebration Ends for America's First Underwater Preserve. The day before, noted divers descended on an iconic underwater statue to mark the 50th anniversary of America's first underwater preserve. Famed oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle joined Pat Wells, manager of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Billy Causey, regional director for NOAA's national marine sanctuaries in placing a commemorative garland on the Christ of the Abyss statue, an icon for the park that was originally dedicated Dec. 10, 1960. "It's the oldest underwater park ... not just in Florida ... not just in the United States, but it set a precedent for the world," said Earle. "This protected area where even the fish have a safe haven, is a gift to the world." The park was named for the late John Pennekamp, an associate editor for the Miami Herald, whose writings were instrumental in helping to establish Everglades National Park.