By Shereen Siewert
Wausau’s parks and boat launches are open, but city and county officials are now faced with a difficult decision: what to do about the dozens of recreational programs offered each summer to area residents amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Jamie Polley said no final decisions have yet been made.
At this time all parks are open. Playgrounds are closed, as is Wausau’s skate park, some with yellow caution tape to keep visitors away. Boat launches are open with annual or daily boat passes required and campgrounds in the county will open on May 1 as scheduled, though group campgrounds are closed through May 26 and shelter rentals through that date will be refunded or rescheduled.
Disc golf enthusiasts can use Memorial Park’s course, though disc golf at Big Eau Pleine Park remains closed as of April 22 due to wet conditions.
The Duane L. Corbin Shooting Range will open for the season on May 2, Polley said. Social distancing requirements must be adhered to in all open areas.
Access to Memorial Park is restricted to foot traffic through the stairway access south of Memorial Pool through mid-May, as the Sturgeon Eddy construction project and subsequent repaving of the Memorial Park access road is completed.
“Hopefully this work will be completed shortly,” Polley said.
Local leaders are looking to other municipalities for direction as summer nears. Minneapolis, for example, already announced all pools and beaches would remain closed for the season, while Wausau Events canceled all Concerts on the Square through July, along with the wildly popular Balloon and Rib Fest.
“I will be meeting with the County Health Director, County Administrator and Mayor on Friday to get further direction,” Polley said.
Regular updates will be posted to the Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry website when decisions are made.
Many privately owned golf courses will open this week, after Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order that extended the Safer at Home order through May 26 and issued course guidelines.