kayak launch

Bill Boettge, president of Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association board, spoke at the kayak launch dedication Thursday. The launch is near the bay on the south side of Waterworks Park.

The city of Beaver Dam installed a kayak launch about a month ago to take advantage of an outdoor recreational activity that was missing from the city, according to Bill Boettge, board president of Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association.

“I’m sure it will increase the recreational uses of Beaver Dam Lake,” he said.

The launch is near the bay on the south side of the park and John Neumann, parks and forestry supervisor, said the launch is simple to understand.

It’s attached to a floating walkway off the shore. A woman, man or child can place a kayak or canoe onto oversized rollers that catch and hold it in place. The person steps into a kayak or canoe, grabs the railings and pulls himself/herself out into the lake.

Getting out of the lake works in reverse from getting in by the individual pulling himself/herself out of the water by grabbing the railing and rolling the boat into the launch.

“It’s a pretty neat concept,” he said.

At the moment, Neumann said there is only one kayak launch in Beaver Dam and describes this as a “trial run.” More may be installed, based on their popularity.

If someone wanting to paddle along the shoreline in Beaver Dam Lake doesn’t have the means to, Beaver Dam Community Activities and Services will be offering eight kayaks, four wave boards and four canoes. They will available to rent at Waterworks Park once a building is constructed to house them.

Neumann said that the building should be constructing by mid June.

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The kayak launch costs $25,000. The dock was purchased by the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association with funds from the estate of Randy Fiegel. The association is dedicating this as a memorial to Fiegel, who loved boating, fishing and waterskiing on Beaver Dam Lake.

Neumann said that this cost nothing to the city.

Mayor Tom Kennedy said that the dock is a tremendous addition to Beaver Dam’s five parks near the lake.

“It’s one of these tremendous things that I love to see in our community,” he said.

A crew from EZ Dock Company and city park personnel installed the dock in late April and Neumann said that he is happy with the response so far.

“We are expecting a lot,” he said.

The new Great Beaver Paddle Festival on July 30 will be the new dock’s first stress test. The festival will be a day of free demos, clinics and paddling events.

There will be free instructions on kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding offered all day. The classes will be followed by free 30-minute rentals. The demonstrations will be on kayak fishing, paddling techniques and how to select a kayak.

“We are expecting a lot,”—John Neumann, parks and forestry supervisor

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