Are you among the many who are outraged by a legislative proposal that is moving forward in the Minnesota House that would change the name of St. Croix State Park to Walter F. Mondale State Park?

I have heard from countless local constituents who have complained to me that this process is moving forward without their consultation.

I share your frustration. Some at the Capitol must have thought this wasn’t a very controversial idea, but now that the plan has been publicized the overwhelming majority of area residents are adamant they don’t want to see the name changed.

Some background: in the 1800’s, the threat of mining the St. Croix Dalles prompted leaders from Minnesota and Wisconsin to preserve the Dalles of the St. Croix River. Working together, the first interstate (Minnesota and Wisconsin) park in the nation was established with the Minnesota Legislature establishing the park in 1895 and the Wisconsin Legislature following suit in 1900.

Since then, St. Croix State Park has become very special to generations of local families who have not only worked there over the years, but have camped and hiked there.

In St. Paul, the bill that would authorize the name change has been included in a sizable environment finance proposal that will be debated on the House floor in the coming weeks.

From the conversations I’ve had, people want to honor Vice President Mondale, but at the same time they want to maintain the name of St. Croix State Park. This is a personal issue for many local residents, and I’ve heard a tremendous outcry to keep the name as is and to find another way to pay tribute to Walter Mondale going forward.

Had those who wanted to change the state park name consulted area residents, I’m confident they would have heard the same message. Unfortunately that did not happen, and I will be opposing this provision.

Nathan Nelson is the Minnesota House Representative for District 11B which includes most of Pine County as well as Kroschel, Pomroy, Knife Lake, Whited, Arthur, Comfort, Brunswick and Grass Lake townships in Kanabec County.

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