Meet Laurie Miskimins :: Marathon County’s New Conservation, Planning & Zoning Director

Written by Lance Leonhard

We are thrilled to have Laurie Miskimins as our new Director of the Conservation, Planning & Zoning (CPZ) Department in Marathon County. She joins us from Colorado with over 10 years of experience in planning, policy development, and project delivery in federal land settings. As a graduate of Northland College’s Natural Resources Management program, she’s excited to be back in Wisconsin.

Laurie Miskimins
CPZ Director Laurie Miskimins. (Photo courtesy of subject.)

From directing the county-wide Uniform Addressing project and monitoring water quality, to managing zoning programs for many of our area townships, the work of the CPZ Department plays an important role in making Marathon County the preferred place to live, work, visit, and do business.

At a high level, the CPZ Director strives to promote healthy, responsible, and thoughtful protection and management of all our land and water resources while also planning for the future. The director is also responsible for developing and implementing various plans and programs to help manage Marathon County’s resources and comply with federal, state, and local regulations. This person works closely with the CPZ staff, which has nearly 300 combined years of experience in undertaking these efforts.

CPZ Director Laurie Miskimins (right) meeting with CPZ managers Dave Mack (center) and Diane Hanson (left). (Photo courtesy of Lane Loveland.)

I sat down with Laurie to get to know a bit more about her and her thoughts on her new role at Marathon County…

Q. What interested you in working for Marathon County?

Marathon County has a diversity of landscapes, land uses, commerce, and communities. Like many areas, Marathon County is experiencing pressure from population increases and changes to the economy and land uses. The many dimensions of what Marathon County has to manage and plan for are what drew me to planning in the first place.

I also saw that Marathon County had a strong commitment to practicing the core value principles of Service, Integrity, Quality, Diversity, Shared Purpose, and Stewardship of Our Resources. That was important to me because, as a community, we will always have differences as to what healthy, safe, or prosperous means or looks like. Regardless of the differences, it’s important to work through them respectfully, openly, and with the intent to provide quality service that considers the needs of our community — now and in the future.”

Q. What are a few things most people don’t realize are functions of the CPZ Department?

“While many people seem to focus on the enforcement of environmental requirements related to agriculture, land use, and water quality management — and that is an aspect of the work we do — the CPZ staff is highly successful at engaging the vast majority of the landowners and farmers whom we work with through education, demonstration, and on-farm events. We work with farmers to help them understand why it’s so important to improve soil health and how that translates into more productive, profitable, and resilient farming systems, as well as restoration of groundwater reserves, increased base flow to streams, and greatly improved surface water quality. 

At CPZ, the Geographic Information System (GIS) staff in our Geo Services work diligently to manage address data and provide mapping information for Marathon County’s E911 Dispatch System. Addresses are assigned by CPZ staff and provided to the E911 system to aid in getting the right service to the right place at the right time.”

(Source: Uniform Addressing Quick Reference Guide – Residential,

The CPZ Department also oversees nonmetallic mining reclamation in Marathon County. Our geology makes it an ideal area for diversified sources of high-quality nonmetallic minerals, including sand and gravel for concrete; clay for making impervious liners; rotten granite for our rural roads; sandstone for architecture and landscaping; and hard rock granite for dimension stone. These minerals are extracted from the earth through nonmetallic mining operations, commonly referred to as “pits and quarries.”

In 1989, Marathon County adopted Chapter 21 – Nonmetallic Mining Reclamation Code (per Wis. Admin. Code NR135) to provide uniform reclamation standards and environmental protections during and after the mining process. Currently, there 127 nonmetallic mines permitted through this program; a collaborative partnership between industry and Marathon County.”

(Image courtesy of Marathon County Conservation, Planning & Zoning. View full-size map here:

“Lastly, the CPZ Department is involved in efforts related to stormwater management. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates the Total Maximum Daily Load (TDML) in the Wisconsin River Basin and has identified pollutants of concern in our watershed. We are working on a Stormwater Management Plan Update to analyze alternatives that will assist us in meeting the TMDL requirements.”

Q. While you’re not at work, what do you like to do in your free time?

“My significant other Matt and I, along with our dog Charlie, enjoy doing just about anything outdoors. We like to hike, bike, paddle, camp, explore the woods, and so on. We’re also looking forward to visiting the many Wausau and Marathon County area summer events and restaurants.”

Laurie Miskimins at the Grand Canyon. (Photo courtesy of the subject.)

“In the winter, we like to snowshoe and ice-skate. I would like to try ice-fishing again, which I did once or twice in college. Winter is also a time when I will get a little crafty, creating activity packages that I mail to my many nieces and nephews around the country.

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Laurie has been a fantastic addition to our Marathon County team. Not only does she bring expertise in her field, but we’ve also learned she’s been to 160 of the 422 National Parks!

I invite you to call 715.261.6000 to schedule a time to meet Laurie, learn about all the great work the CPZ team is doing throughout the County, and maybe even swap a National Park story or two. You can also email her at

Lance Leonard - Marathon County Deputy Administrator

Lance Leonhard

Marathon County Administrator

Lance Leonhard began his career in Marathon County Government in the Office of Corporation Counsel. He then served as Deputy Administrator and currently serves as the Marathon County Administrator. Lance’s career in public service has spanned more than a decade, having worked for the federal government as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for the state of Wisconsin as an Assistant District Attorney. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Lance spending time with his family, traveling, teeing off on a local golf course, or sitting around a campfire with friends.  Email Lance Leonhard

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