Vilas County Lakes and Rivers Association

Protecting our natural waters for the benefit of all

Our Vision and Mission

Vilas County in Wisconsin’s north­woods is a special place — with over 1300 lakes and 70 rivers, nature has blessed it with one of the highest concentrations of fresh inland waters on the planet. Whether you come to the northwoods to work or play, our beautiful lakes and rivers inspire and connect us – and drive our economy!
In fact, the health of our environment and economy depends on the vitality of our natural waters. Achieving a sustainable, vibrant north­woods community requires working together to preserve our precious lake and river heritage. That’s what drives our vision of a future where our natural waters are protected and cherished for the high quality of life they provide.
Vilas County Lakes and Rivers Association (VCLRA) was formed nearly 30 years ago with the mission to sustainably preserve, protect, and enhance our lakes and rivers for the benefit of all. We accomplish our mission by working with partner and supporting member families and lake organizations to foster informed and engaged communities committed to the welfare of our lake and river heritage.

Our approach


VCLRA works with our partners and supporting member families and lake organizations to advocate for sensible, science-informed policy to protect our natural waters and shorelands. We engage in DNR and town hearings, develop position letters to policy makers, have a presence in key committee meetings and events, and sponsor or co-sponsor scientific research studies that support sound policy.


VCLRA exhibits at local fairs/fests, holds workshop events, distributes two print newsletters annually, maintains a year-round website presence, and offers a speaker's bureau service. Our Blue Heron Stewardship Award raises awareness and showcases excellence in lake-friendly waterfront development. We also developed a shoreland class  for middle schools and award a high school scholarship annually.


We assist in the formation of lake associations and districts — the first line of defense for protecting our natural waters — and provide them with support, including training and access to lake and river monitoring equipment. We also develop programs for shoreland and waterways conservation, and sponsor or co-sponsor worthy projects and scientific research studies that support these efforts.


Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Convention

April 19-21, 2023, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Stevens Point

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VCLRA is a 501c3 non-profit lake conservation and education organization. All of our work is funded by generous donations, public grants and support from our member families and lake organizations. Join us – be part of a dynamic community working to preserve our beautiful lake and river heritage. Together, we can make a difference.

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