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New Underwater State Park In Tahoe Showcases Historic Sunken Boats

EMERALD BAY (KPIX 5) -- Lake Tahoe is usually known for outdoor activities such as boating and hiking, but it may now become known for scuba diving.

Officials from California State Parks recently announced Tahoe's first underwater trail, dubbed The Emerald Bay State Park Maritime Heritage Trail.

The underwater trail will include four different sites showcasing "sunken historic boats," according to Ken Cramer, a Diving Safety Officer for California State Parks.

The historic items present at the trail total 11 wooden boats, most over 100 years old: two enormous wooden barges once used to transport lumber and cars, several fishing boats from the 1940's and a 27-foot custom launch believed to have sunk in 1941.

State Parks has waterproof information cards detailing the history of each site.

"They represent a collection of small sunken boats of various types that aren't found in such close proximity like this anywhere else in the world," said Cramer.

State Parks is also producing a video to highlight the boats for non-divers, too, with underwater footage being captured with a drone.

The underwater sites aren't very deep; they start at 10 and go as deep as 60 feet. But Cramer cautions that it's not a shore dive.

"If you come here specifically to dive--and we are really encouraging and welcoming everyone to come and check it out--you really, because of the remoteness, need a boat, whether you rent a boat or have your own boat," he said.

Denise Jaffke, an underwater archaeologist for California State Parks, is thrilled about the underwater trail.

"They [the boats] look fantastic after a hundred years!" she said.

So far, the state of California has identified 11 boats preserved at the park, but the state says there could be more added in the future.

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