Update August 21

Wisconsin River Drawdown Clean Up!

Saturday and Sunday August 24 & 25, 2019

Necessary work on the Wausau Hydro Dam meant a drawdown was needed this summer for the Wisconsin River on the north end of Wausau. With the drawdown came reports of residents being upset with the amount of garbage on the river bed and banks. Local members of WI Waterfowl Assoc. (WWA) and WI Trappers Assoc. (WTA) are collaborating with Wausau/Marathon Co Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to help turn these concerns into an opportunity that we invite any volunteers to take advantage of!

August 24th and 25th Wausau/Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department will have dumpsters available at the Scholfield Park boat landing off East Randolph St on the west side of the river and at Gilbert Park on North 6th St on the east side of the river. The dumpsters are for smaller, bagged garbage while tires and scrap metal will have separate designated spots.

Summer is short and free time on weekends is even shorter. For these reasons the cleanup opportunity will not have a set time or specific meeting place. The dumpsters will be on site and those interested in cleaning up the river can collect and deposit trash whenever it fits their schedule August 24th & 25th.

Some areas may be accessible by foot while many others will require watercraft. All volunteers should respect private property and restrict trash collection to the exposed riverbed and bank. Small boats, kayaks and canoes will make travel along the river and collecting trash much easier. Volunteers will want to bring gloves and garbage bags. We would love to know how many people donated their time with helping to clean up the WI Rivers during this event so there will be participation sign in sheets at each dumpster location. Thanks in advance to all who help!

Click here for a pdf of the press release!

For more information about the Clean Up dates visit Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation & Forestry’s Facebook page or call 715-261-1550.

Canoe and Kayak Launch:

April 9, 2019:  The handi-cap accessible kayak launch and the floating finger piers at Riverlife will not be installed in 2019 due to the drawdown of the Wisconsin River beginning mid-April through December.  Read the full article here.

Canoe and kayak paddlers of all ages, abilities, and experience now have an easier way to launch on the Wisconsin River in Wausau.  On August 28, 2012 a new handicapped-accessible launch was dedicated and opened up for public use.  The launch is located on the east shore of the Wisconsin River at 1700 River Drive just North of the Bridge Street bridge.  River Drive can be accessed from East Wausau Avenue north of the launch or from the south from north 1st Street.

Entering Kayak Launch


Kayak Launching off the Dock

Users place their canoe or kayak on a series of rollers in the center of the dock where it remains stable until the user is ready to launch.  The launch has a wheelchair transfer station that assists paddlers in positioning themselves in their kayak.  Paddlers push off from the launch with the aid of two parallel handrails.  When returning, paddlers reverse the process and pull themselves up to the dock's level center.  Annual installation and removal will vary with seasonal ice and flooding conditions.  In early spring and late fall you may want to contact the Park Administrative Office to determine availability.  The launch eliminates the need to step in the water which is advantageous when paddling during cool weather.

Directions to the Launch

A paved parking lot is provided.  Restrooms and drinking water are not available on site.  Use of the launch is free.

This project was made possible through the partnership and support of the Wausau and Marathon County Park Foundation, the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department, and Wausau Water Works.  Contact the Park Administrative Office at 715.261.1550 with any questions.

Boat Launches:

Update April 9, 2019: As a result of the Wisconsin River drawdown expected to begin April 15, at some point, the Gilbert Park and Scholfield Park boat launches will become unusable to access the water.  Until that point, the boat launches remain open.  In addition, beginning May 1, the DNR is temporarily closing fishing on Wausau Dam Lake and part of the Wisconsin River.  Read the full article here.

The following boat launches are maintained by the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department. Use of these boat launches requires the user to purchase a daily permit or annual boat launch permt.

Big Eau Pleine; 1 launch in the west unit; 2 launches in the south unit Gilbert
D.C. Everest;  2 launches in the park Memorial
Bluegill Bay Oak Island
Mission Lake Scholfield


During the season annual stickers may also be ordered by completing a self-registration envelope form out at any of the six county parks, OR four city park boat landings during the boating season. The annual sticker will be mailed to your residence within seven days.  Make checks payable to Marathon County Park Dept

2019 Fees
Annual Sticker $30
Business Sticker $50
Second Sticker $10
Daily Pass $5
Lost Sticker Before Affixed to the Trailer $10
Replacement Sticker (Bring old one in) $0

Please complete a registration form for each sticker purchased. All prices include Wisconsin and Marathon County Sales Tax.

Please note that the WAUSAU * MARATHON COUNTY BOAT LAUNCH sticker is not valid at any Village of Rothschild or City of Schofield boat landing.

A replacement sticker may be issued at no charge when a trailer is sold. Simply peel the sticker off the trailer and bring it into the Park Office, 212 River Drive, Suite #2 to receive a free replacement sticker. Complete a new registration form and attach the old sticker to it.

Stickers for one additional trailer are available for a $10 fee at the Park Office.

If the original sticker becomes illegible, you may obtain a free replacement by removing the original sticker and bringing it to the Park Administrative Office, 212 River Drive, Suite 2, Wausau.

Immediate family members may purchase boat launch stickers for their trailer if family member lives at the same address.

If vehicle(s) are registered to a business/agency, an employee may purchase on behalf of the organization.

1. What if I own 4 trailers, how much are extra stickers? Trailer #1=$30, Trailer #2=$10, Trailer #3=$30, Trailer #4=$10 etc...
2. What if I sell my trailer with a sticker on it? The seller must remove the old sticker and complete a new CITY OF WAUSAU AND MARATHON COUNTY BOAT LAUNCH PERMIT form (P112) to obtain a free replacement sticker.

Note: If the seller leaves the sticker on the trailer after it is sold (or junked), the seller is not eligible for a free replacement sticker. They may however, purchase a replacement sticker for $10.00.

3. If I purchase a trailer with a current sticker, is the sticker valid for me to use? Yes, as long as the original purchaser does not remove it to obtain a free replacement sticker, (see Q2 and A2).
4. What if I launch my boat at park A and take-out at park B on the same date? Requires one daily permit valid for that date or an annual sticker.
5. What if I launch my boat on date 1 and take-out on date 2? Requires two daily permits, one valid for the launch date and a second valid for the take-out date or an annual sticker.
6. What if I lose the sticker before it's attached? Purchase a replacement sticker for $10.00.
7. What if someone else uses my trailer to launch or take-out their boat? That's OK, as long as the trailer has an annual sticker or the towing vehicle has a valid daily permit.
8. When do I need a daily permit or annual sticker? Whenever the ramp is used to launch watercraft (boat, kayak, canoe, paddleboard, etc.) with a trailer, including periods when the parks are closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
9. What if I trailer my watercraft (boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboard, etc.) to the launch but do not back my trailer into the water on the ramp and carry my watercraft to and from the water? No daily permit or annual sticker is required.
10. What if I don't have a trailer and carry my watercraft (boat, kayak, canoe, paddleboard, etc.) to the water and launch it on the ramp? SAME AS A9.
11. Do I need a daily permit or annual sticker to access a body of water for ice fishing? No.
12. Can annual stickers be sold through the mail? Yes, once payment has been received with a completed CITY OF WAUSAU AND MARATHON COUNTY BOAT LAUNCH PERMIT form (P112) the Park Office will mail a sticker to the address provided.
13. What do I need to purchase an annual sticker? SAME AS A12.
14. Which boat landings require a daily pass or annual sticker? ALL CITY OF WAUSAU AND MARATHON COUNTY PARKS
Big Eau Pleine Park
Bluegill Bay Park
D.C. Everest Park
Mission Lake Park
Gilbert Park
Memorial Park
Oak Island Park
Schofield Park
15. Which boat landings do not require a daily permit or annual sticker? NONE
16. Why was the placement location of the annual sticker changed from the towing vehicle's windshield to the boat's trailer tongue? This change allows boaters to tow their trailer with multiple vehicles and will eliminate complaints about putting stickers on vehicle windshields.
17. If I have an amphibious car and drive it into or out of the water do I need a daily permit or annual sticker? SAME AS A8.
18. If I purcahse an annual sticker for my amphibious car do I have to tow a trailer behind my car so I can properly display the sticker? Yes. Except if you carry the car and trailer into the water the sticker is not required.