Take Me to the Water . . .

Written by Karyn Powers

Did you know that the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, & Forestry Department provides and maintains the most access to public waters in our county via (a) kayak and boat launches and (b) fishing piers?

Did you know they also offer boat and trailer storage rental facilities for the public to use at Marathon Park?


Well then, read on!

Wausau and Marathon County staff want you know to the MANY ways you can enjoy our picturesque Wisconsin waters, including a few new additions you might want to try . . .

Kayak & Boat Launches in Marathon County

Bluegill Bay Park boat launch. (Photo courtesy of Karyn Powers.)

Residents and visitors alike can find department-maintained kayak or boat launches at:

Fishing Piers in Marathon County

Fishing pier at Bluegill Bay Park. (Photo courtesy of Greg Freix.)

Year-round and seasonal fishing piers maintained by the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, & Forestry Department are located at:

Riverlife Wharf. (Photo courtesy of Karyn Powers.)

Updates & Maintenance

Park Operations Superintendent, Greg Freix reported on the most recent community projects aimed to improve access to our beautiful waters:

“We’ve added the River Edge Trail kayak launch, the Riverlife accessible kayak launch and piers, a new fishing pier at Bluegill Bay Park, and one at Sunnyvale Lake in the last 3 years.”

Fishing pier at Sunnyvale Park. (Photo courtesy of Greg Freix.)

In addition to the new launches and piers, the department replaced a launch at Gilbert Park and has plans to replace two piers at Schofield Park yet this year.

So, what does it take to maintain this water access?  According to Freix:

“We pull and sandblast the steel piers every other year. Those [piers] at Big Eau Pleine, Mission Lake, and D.C. Everest are steel, so they are pulled before ice sets in and are stored on site. Bluegill [Bay] and Sunnyvale fishing piers stay in, as does the one at Gilbert Park. At D.C. Everest, two piers are pulled out and one is floated across Lake Wausau to Memorial, where it is stored. We also assist the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Authority and push Lisa’s Landing pier out and up on the shore for storage on site.”

 “The accessible kayak launch and the Riverlife piers are removed at the end of the season and stored off site at the operations complex.”

 “The brand-new boat launch at Gilbert Park is a floating dock system attached to a concrete walkway at the shoreline. This launch is also removed for the winter.”

Public Boat & Trailer Storage

In addition to maintaining water access, the department does its part to help local boaters store their boats and trailers over the winter. Winter storage space is available for rent — in multiple buildings — at Marathon Park in Wausau.

cattle-barn_and_exhibition-building_Marathon-Park (1)
Boats and trailers 9 feet and under can be stored in the Cattle Barns at Marathon Park.
Larger boats may be stored in the park’s Exhibition Building.

As of publication of this article, there were approximately 40 spaces still available for boats and trailers with a combined height under 9 feet tall. Call the Park Office at 715-261-1550 for details or to make an appointment.

There’s still plenty of time — and great weather — for you to enjoy being out in your boat before you have to store it away for the year. We invite you to find a new launch site in the county to enjoy the beautiful fall views . . .

Wausau and Marathon County hope to see you ON THE WATER!

karyn_powersKaryn Powers

Recreation Superintendent  |  Wausau / Marathon County Parks, Recreation, & Forestry Department 

Karyn Powers joined the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department in 1991. Prior to settling in Marathon County, she spent 5 years working for the Department of Defense in Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Services for the U.S. Navy in Iceland and the U.S. Army in South Korea. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Park and Recreation Administration and a master’s degree in Education. In addition to being the city/county Recreation Superintendent, she is a published poet and author. Karyn fell in love with Marathon County as a college senior when she interned here in 1979, then traveled halfway around the world to get back here as soon as was possible.  Email Karyn Powers.

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