Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen today announced the appointment of Grant Wilson to the central region director position.

Wilson will be taking over for Keith Parker, who held the post since 2011. Parker is leaving the DNR to join Great River Greening as its executive director.

Wilson is currently completing a special assignment to Commissioner’s Office and recently served as acting Fish and Wildlife Director. He will start his new job on Nov. 4.

In the interim between Parker’s Aug. 16 departure and Nov. 4, two experienced DNR leaders, Craig Schmid from the Division of Forestry and Lt. Col. Greg Salo from the Division of Enforcement, will rotate as acting central region director.

“With his lengthy experience in policy and planning, and with fish and wildlife issues, Grant will provide great leadership to a region that is very diverse,” said Strommen. “People will find that Grant has a strong desire to work closely with stakeholders to solve even the thorniest issues, which is a trait we value here at DNR.”

Wilson has worked with the DNR since 2007, serving in the Policy and Planning Program of the Fish and Wildlife Division where he worked on a wide variety of complex and challenging conservation and recreation management and policy issues. He also served as DNR’s first liaison to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

Most recently, Wilson served for six months as acting Fish and Wildlife Director. In all his roles with DNR, he has used his skills to work closely with stakeholders and to foster public engagement, strategic thinking, planning, and conflict resolution.

Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2001, and a master’s degree in natural resources science and management, with an emphasis in policy and society, from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2008. He grew up in Chicago, and fell in love with the outdoors by spending summers on Minnesota lakes, rivers, and his grandparents’ farm. He loves spending time outside with his family, and especially enjoys fishing, camping, and kayaking.

Central Region

Headquartered in St. Paul, the DNR’s central region includes a diagonal swath of 23 central and southeast counties, extending from Houston County in the southeast to Todd County in central Minnesota. It also includes the Twin Cities metropolitan region, Rochester and St. Cloud.

The region offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, from trout fishing in the southeast bluff lands, to boating on the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in central and southern Minnesota, to a wide range of parks and trails opportunities throughout the region. It also has a varied landscape of prairies, hardwood and deciduous forests and popular fishing and recreation lakes.

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