Caring for Our Shores - A Property Owner's Guide for Shoreland Protection

For many, there is nothing as relaxing as the cry of the loon, the sweet smell of pine on a warm summer evening, or a quiet dip of a paddle in a clear, pristine lake or river. Welcome to the Northwoods, welcome to Langlade County!

This Web Site is intended to provide you with:

bullet a description of shoreland requirements in Langlade County and how they may affect your property.
bullet ways in which you, as a shoreland owner, can restore and enhance your shoreland property for your enjoyment as well as for future generations.
bullet detailed information about how to better manage our many delicate natural eco-systems through good land management practices.

As a shoreland property owner, your responsibilities go beyond your individual property. How you care for your shoreland property can impact an entire lake or river system.


Land use is regulated in all shoreland areas in Langlade County and throughout the towns with comprehensive zoning. Permitted uses vary among zoning districts.

Shoreland development regulations apply to the following lands:

bullet Lands within 1000 feet of the ordinary high-water mark (OHWM) of navigable lakes, ponds or flowages and,
bullet Lands within 300 feet of the OHWM or to the landward side of the floodplain of a navigable river or stream, whichever distance is greater.

The ordinary high-water mark (OHWM) is the point on the bank or shore up to which the water, by its presence and action or flow, leaves a distinct mark indicated by erosion, destruction of or change in vegetation or other easily recognizable characteristics. Waters are legally navigable if they have a bed and bank and levels of flow sufficient to support navigation by a recreational craft of the shallowest draft on a recurring basis. Floodplain boundaries adjacent to rivers and streams are determined by official maps and flood studies adopted by Langlade County that are available through the Langlade County Land Records and Regulations Department (LRRD).

Other permits may be required from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for activities such as installing shoreland stabilization structures (i.e. rock riprap), grading, placing a dock, or installing a wildlife pond. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) may have jurisdiction if you are doing any filling or grading near a wetland. See "Contacts", for agency addresses and phone numbers.


Langlade County Lakes

Langlade County has 843 natural lakes, many being a wilderness type. These wilderness lakes represent an extremely important part of the county’s recreation system (available to those interested in walking, biking, backpacking or fishing). A number of larger lakes are available for boating, swimming and other active water sports.

Outstanding Resource Waters

Langlade County’s rivers and streams also provide unique recreational opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, rafting and fishing. There are 387 miles of prime trout fishing resource waters in Langlade County. The Wolf and Eau Claire Rivers are two highly regarded Class 1 trout streams. The DNR, in partnership with local Trout Unlimited Chapters,
has spent many hours enhancing trout habitat in these and many other
streams and rivers throughout our county.

Langlade County’s waterways at a glance:

Water Resource Number Acres/Miles
Lakes 843 8,864 (acres)
Rivers and Streams 225 513 (miles)
Other Trout Stream Segments 182 401 (miles)