Portage added near Iola Mill
Students, volunteers help with project
By Holly Neumann
Tom Fucik, owner of the Iola Mill, has a lifelong interest in anything aquatic.
When he saw a growing number of people were using Lake Iola for kayaking, he decided to add a portage so they could continue their trips down the river to Scandinavia.
“I have always been involved with the lake and recreation,” Fucik said. “There is already a DNR put-in area on Tresness Road, so it seemed like a natural to have a take-out here. They can cross the lake, take out their canoe or kayak, take a break and then head on down to Scandy.”
According to Fucik, the shoreline was already contoured to enable a portage. He developed the shoreline further with the help of some students.
“Students from the Iola-Scandinavia High School have come here several times to help me during their community service days,” said Fucik. “Together, we reshaped it to make it easier for canoes and kayaks to portage here.”
He noted the project has been a community effort.
“Jack Vater, Phil Johnsrud and Dan Remington worked really hard this past summer to clean up the river to make a clear passage way,” Fucik said. “The students helped here. Like I said, it has been a group project to improve the recreational aspects of our community.”
Fucik enjoys the fact that Iola has many amenities.
“Being able to add this is a natural fit,” he said. “I think it will get a lot of use.
Seeding will be done in the spring, and the portage should be ready for use next summer.