Conclusion

For nearly a decade, SJAEI has invested a great deal of time, energy, and money to investigate the Maple Leaf site, largely through a volunteer effort. Their work clearly demonstrates the tremendous value of the site for Civil War material culture studies and Great Lakes vessel construction. Yet, relatively little work has been accomplished in terms of examining the entire site due to its great size and the difficult underwater environment. The scope of work necessary to thoroughly investigate the site is enormous and reflects the need to establish the Maple Leaf Foundation to administer project research and funding.

SJAEI’s efforts to focus on public involvement and education has received a tremendous amount of attention, both locally and nationally. This attention helped raise substantial funding through grants from the State of Florida for the past several years. However, sizable long term funding is necessary for such a complicated and demanding project. In addition, East Carolina University and the U.S. Army Center for Military History are also providing support and services through their expert staff and facilities. Much of the work accomplished to date has been through an extremely dedicated group of volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours of time, materials, and equipment free of charge. This public effort gives the Maple Leaf Project a sense of growing momentum and enthusiasm and continues to be a critically important element.