Located in north central Wisconsin, Marathon County is a beautiful, fertile area of rolling plains and hills. In 1850 when Marathon County was organized by action of the state legislature, its land was heavily forested, and most of the 500 inhabitants made their living from the rich timber resources. This early dependence on forest wealth is still reflected in many county industries, but the healthy economy of today is characterized by industrial diversification and the utilization of all natural resources. Area: 1,584 square miles - the largest of Wisconsin's 72 counties.
The latest census tally shows Marathon County to be one of the areas in the state with a population increase.
Marathon County has an estimated population of 134,679 (2013 estimate).
Marathon County was officially established in 1850 and Wausau was selected as the county seat. From a Chippewa name meaning 'Far Away' - has grown to a vigorous city of 39,180 people.
Marathon County is one of the leading dairy producing counties in Wisconsin and the nation. Most of the county's industry is centered in the urban areas. Lumber was the original industry and wood and paper products have remained the leading industries. However, there is a wide variety of industrial plants which manufacture more than 50 different products. Some of the most important products manufactured in Marathon County are paper and food packages, lum-ber and building materials, dairy products, electric mo-tors, boxes, road building and industrial machinery, ve-neers and red granite monuments and materials. Forestry facts of Marathon County are an indication of the important role the lumber and paper industry has played in the development of this area. Three paper mills are located in the county, their expertise being specialty and high quality writing and printing paper. There are also a number of sawmills throughout the county.
One-third of the county land area is forest land, Most woodland is in 30 or 40 acre tracts attached to individual farms.
In Marathon County emphasis has been placed on reforestation. For the last 10 years, roughly 400,000 trees have been planted each year. Approximately 30,000 acres in the county have been permanently set aside as county forest land for forestry, wildlife and recreation purposes. Multiple use management of these forest lands provides opportunities for hunting, trapping, hiking. cross-country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and ATV riding, to name a few. Marathon County offers ideal recreation opportunities the year around. For winter sports enthusiasts, the ex-cellent facilities of Granite Peak Ski Resort at Rib Moun-tain have made it one of the most famous winter-fun areas of the midwest_ With more than 70 runs, there are trails designed for the novice, intermediate and expert skiers. Two chalets provide a comfortable place to re-lax.