There are no plans to raise any of the boats or the plane at this time.
Indeed, aside from taking fishing lines and lures off the wrecks, the team has not touched them, although each wreck has been extensively documented with photography and video.
“They need to leave any artifact, every artifact in the vicinity of the wreck right where it is,” said Lord, saying that their location can provide clues to how the vessel ended up on the bottom.
Zarzynski has been instructing the rest of dive team in archaeological observation, likening each wreck to a crime scene, and says that their reports have been improving over time.
“The remarks I’m getting back are much better, much more insightful,” said Zarzynski. “If you go about it the right way, you can deduce a lot.”
At the end of the year, the team will present what they have discovered to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. New York State is the custodial caretaker of Otsego Lake’s underwater historical heritage.
As for what else the team might find, Zarzynski expressed confidence that they would be able to locate Native American watercraft.
Lord says that Zarzynski has been scouring back issues of The Cooperstown Crier and The Freeman’s Journal.
“He has been all over all the online files looking for stories about things that have sunk in the lake.”
As for what people can do if they’d like to help, Zarzynski says that they’re interested in oral history and any stories people might have about things that have gone down in the lake.
“That’s an untapped thing so far,” said Zarzynski.
Zarzynski says that Otsego Lake is about 165 feet deep at its greatest depth, and that some targets will need to be dove on with a remotely controlled vehicle. He also says that he is willing to pay for side scan sonar surveys of the rest of the lake.
Zarazynski’s eventual goal is to document all of Otsego Lake’s cultural resources and to help set up a management plan for them, so that the public can be aware of them and they can be protected. He expects this process to take between two and three years.
“Hopefully when this is done we find out what is in the lake,” he said.