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June 8, 2023 – Wausau, WI – 712 Creative and the Wausau/Central Wisconsin’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) are thrilled to announce their recent award of the Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant by the WI Department of Tourism. Amounting to $28,775, this grant will be critical in promoting the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway (GPHW), a unique 108-mile long water trail in Central Wisconsin, thereby enhancing regional tourism. The JEM Grant Program is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and “offers funding to make a promotion or event come to fruition. The grant reimburses Wisconsin nonprofit organizations for qualified promotional costs.” 

The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway project, initiated by the Wausau & Marathon County Parks & Recreation Foundation and supported by numerous local organizations, recently earned state water trail recognition and a non-monetary grant from the National Park Service. These accomplishments underscore the growing importance and recognition of this unique outdoor asset.


Over the past year, 712 Creative has been integral in the development and promotion of the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway. The agency has crafted the brand strategy, developed the website content, and created a comprehensive marketing plan. In partnership with the CVB, 712 Creative also composed and submitted the successful JEM grant application. 


With the JEM grant, 712 Creative and the CVB will continue promoting the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway. These efforts aim to highlight the waterway as a premier outdoor destination and stimulate the local economy by attracting a broad spectrum of outdoor enthusiasts and tourists.


Elina VanNatta, Founder and Brand Strategist at 712 Creative, who spearheaded the grant application, commented, “We are grateful to the WI Department of Tourism for their support of this project. Together with our partners at the CVB and Wausau & Marathon County Parks & Recreation Foundation, we are set to spotlight the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway as a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and tourists from around the US.”


Part of the grant will be allocated to the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway grand launch event on July 15th, fostering local enthusiasm and inviting tourists to experience the waterway firsthand.


Tim White, Executive Director at Wausau/Central Wisconsin CVB, praised the collaborative spirit of the project, “One of the key strengths of the Great Pinery is the cooperation from all community stakeholders interested in outdoor recreation. At Visit Wausau, we are thrilled to partner in this fantastic project and will tirelessly promote it nationally.”


Bill Bertram, President of the Wausau & Marathon County Parks & Recreation Foundation, said, “The recent award of a Destination JEM grant for marketing the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway is a major boost to our outdoor recreation economy. This unique trail tells the rich history of the Wisconsin River and positions Wausau as a go-to destination for paddlers across the Midwest. We’re grateful to 712 Creative and the Central Wisconsin’s Visitors Bureau for their incredible efforts on the grant application and continued promotion of the trail, as well as the Wisconsin Department of Outdoor Recreation and Department of Tourism for their leadership and crucial financial support.”


Stay tuned for updates on this exciting initiative by following the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway Facebook page. For more information, please visit www.greatpinery.com.



712 Creative is an acclaimed branding and marketing agency based in Wausau, WI. Known for its strategic branding and marketing solutions and creativity,712 Creative excels in crafting compelling brand narratives and impactful campaigns. Recently recognized by Clutch.co as a Top Brand and Digital Agency in Wisconsin, 712 Creative is the go-to partner for businesses seeking to elevate their brand and boost market presence.