Great Pinery Heritage Waterway: A Great Midwest Destination
President of Wausau & Marathon County Parks & Recreation Foundation
The Wausau & Marathon County Parks & Recreation Foundation announces the development of the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway (GPHW) as an overarching paddling trail on the Wisconsin River from Hat Rapids in Oneida County through Wausau to the Lake DuBay Dam in Portage County. The scenic, urban, and historical water trail is 108 miles in length and connects today’s paddler with the history, events and people of the river that runs through Central Wisconsin. In addition to the creation of the river trail, a comprehensive website highlights the trail’s access points and its amenities. The website hosted by the Central Wisconsin Visitors Bureau (CVB) encompasses outdoor recreational opportunities in Central Wisconsin offering tourists a one-stop experience to “come for a weekend and stay for a lifetime.” Also go to: http://wmcpf.org/great-pinery-heritage-waterway-2/
“A significant component of the plan is to market the Greater Wausau Region as an Outdoor Recreation mecca of the Midwest to attract and retain skilled workforce and innovative companies. The GPHW proposal would help contribute to realizing this strategy and further enable the area to reach full potential as a nationally recognized outdoor hub, building upon its diverse menu of outdoor amenities including the world-class Wausau Whitewater Park, Nine-Mile County Forest, and other local jewels”, said Dave Eckmann, Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce CEO & President.
This is an overarching trail of three waterways: The Wisconsin River, the Lower Big Rib River (17 miles) and completion of the Lower Eau Claire River (15 miles) into Lake Wausau. The trail touches 12 communities in Central Wisconsin from Tomahawk to Stevens Point, with the heart of the project centered in Wausau and Lake Wausau. “What makes this trail possible is that it is based on a river trail that was developed in 2008 by the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company’s Centennial Water Trail to celebrate their 100th year,” said Bill Bertram, Wausau and Marathon County Parks and Recreation Foundation President. Additionally, the majority of the landings have been developed by our parks and recreation departments of the different municipalities and governments that border the rivers.”
Communities along the Wisconsin River and two county parks departments collaborated to create the GPHW. Trail stories told by the Marathon County Historical Society, Merrill Historical Society, and the Tomahawk Historical Society enrich paddlers’ experiences with historical signage along the route. Additionally, the CVB is providing content and support for a new microsite located within their website.
Key funding was provided by the Wausau and Marathon County Parks and Recreation Foundation, B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, the Dwight and Linda Davis Foundation, the Dudley Foundation, the Judd Alexander Foundation, and the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin along with individual donors.