Paddling & Portaging for 35 years

Paddle & Portage

Fred Klancnik (right) and his friend Randy Cyrus (left) at the 2012 Paddle & Portage. Fred & Randy have been competing in the Paddle & Portage for 35 years now.

Fred Klancnik is no stranger to Wisconsin lakes. He served as President of JJR for 15 years, leading the firm’s waterfront planning, design and engineering practice from its Madison office. These days he works as a Professor of Practice with the University of Wisconsin Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is the President of Capstone Engineering Design, LLC providing advisory, planning and engineering design services to clients on land and waterfront development projects. He is also an active member of the Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board.

“I got involved with Clean Lakes Alliance because I believe it’s important to improve the quality of Madison lakes for residents as well as visitors to Madison,” Klancnik said. “When we improve the lakes we also improve the quality of life for Madison residents.”

Klancnik wants to work to improve public access to the lakes for both recreational and educational purposes and works towards this through his business, his work as a professor and his community involvement.

Favorite lake spot:

Paddle & Portage

James Madison Park with the UW lakefront in the background. Photo by Klancnik.

Klancnik enjoys the walking and bike paths that surround Madison’s lakes.

“I enjoy cruising around the shoreline and looking at the changes in the lakes,” Klancnik said. “I especially enjoy stopping at the piers by the Memorial Union and the Edgewater.”

Specifically he likes going from Picnic Point to the university shoreline, from Law Park to Brittingham Park and then likes to cross over the Isthmus to the Memorial Union.

Klancnik wants to improve the “loop” that the paths make downtown, in hopes to “improve public access to the lakes.”

He is working towards this goal by mentoring two teams of civil engineering and landscape architecture students. The students are working on plans to redevelop John Nolen Drive and Law Park along the Lake Monona shoreline in downtown Madison.

Favorite lake tradition:

Paddle & Portage

Fred Klancnik and Randy Cyrus competing in the 2014 Paddle & Portage canoe race.

In addition to his work with the lakes, Klancnik also spends his free time enjoying the lakes. In fact, for the past 35 years he has been competing in the annual Paddle & Portage canoe race that takes place on Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. He has raced in every single Paddle & Portage (except for one) since it started. He races with his teammate Randy Cyrus, a former UW-Madison classmate. This is quite the tradition for the two friends who both turn 65 this year! Cyrus recently relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina but still came back to Paddle & Portage with his buddy this year.

Paddle & Portage Paddle & Portage

“I can remember when the race first started and it was sponsored by Rutabaga Paddlesports,” said Klancnik. “The owner of Rutabaga used to dress up as Paul Revere on the day of the event and come in riding on a horse announcing ‘The canoes are coming, the canoes are coming!’ to the Saturday Dane County Farmer’s Market crowd.”

Paddle & Portage

Randy’s daughter Alissa commemorated the pals’ 35th Paddle & Portage with this graphic.

Why the lakes are important to our community:

Klancnik believes that public waterfront properties and piers help to give more Madison residents and visitors access to the lakes. And in turn he believes this lake access will help improve the quality of life for those that live here and those that visit. He also believes there is still a huge opportunity to improve water quality in the lake system and wants to continue to improve water quality and Madison lakes with his work in engineering, as a professor, and as a member of the Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board.

****The commentary in this blog are my views and not necessarily the views of the Clean Lakes Alliance****
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