St. Croix River public lands protector and Stillwater businessman passes away

Longtime advocate for parks throughout Minnesota Martin Kellogg left a legacy of protected lands along the river.

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Martin Kellogg (Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota)

Martin Kellogg, a conservationist who helped protect public land throughout the state of Minnesota, as well as the owner of Stillwater manufacturing firm UFE, passed away on March 21 at age 88.

While Kellogg was deeply involved in the creation of Voyageurs National Park and other protection projects in northern Minnesota, he also played key roles in St. Croix River stewardship.

His widow Esther Kellogg says it was exploring a St. Croix River tributary by canoe in the 1950s that he first became concerned about conservation.

“In the late 1950s, Kellogg discovered his love for the outdoors, primarily by canoeing and fishing on the Snake River in east-central Minnesota. He noticed a growing number of real estate ads for riverfront properties and became increasingly concerned by the disappearance of wild spaces. ‘Martin could see what was happening — that pretty soon the whole country was going to be divided up into lots,’” Esther Kellogg told the Star Tribune.

Most of Kellogg’s work along the St. Croix was through the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota, where he was a board member for almost 30 years. He received the organization’s prestigious Reuel Harmon award in 1996.

Martin Kellogg receiving the Reuel Harmon award in 1996. (Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota)

“Mike Prichard and Martin Kellogg worked on several projects at the five state parks along the St. Croix, with Mike as the chair of the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota land acquisition committee,” environmental champion Peter Gove said. “When you drive on Minnesota Highway 95 north and south of the entrance to William O’Brien State Park, that relatively open landscape is a result of their efforts.”

The pair also worked to expand Minnesota Interstate Park to protect more land along the river and bluffs, but the plan was cancelled by Governor Tim Pawlenty after opposition from local businesses and the city of Taylor’s Falls about payments for emergency services.

Martin also helped expand the circle of people involved in Minnesota environmental stewardship. Gove notes that it was Kellogg who encouraged Mike Prichard to join the Parks and Trails Council’s board. Mike later played critical roles in the establishment of the watershed-wide St. Croix River Association in 2008-2009. Kellogg played instrumental roles in transforming SCRA to take on its new mission.

Martin Kellogg with a lake trout. (Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota)

“In so many ways, he was a replica of Theodore Roosevelt,” said former Minnesota governor Arne Carlson. “[He was] involved, persuasive, forward looking, but always with a soft touch. He clearly understood that we are stewards of our natural environment — a challenge that will always be with us. Martin Kellogg is a Minnesota treasure.”

Martin attended Central High School in St. Paul in 1953. After serving in the Marines, he went to work in the construction industry, working on a law degree at night.

In a 2006 interview with Minnesota Trails magazine, Kellogg said, “My only regret is that there have not been more days to enjoy the comradeship of the good hearts and minds that frequent the bastions of protection for our natural resources. Yet I am more than rewarded by a vision that someday there will be still another person walking through some parkland wondering as I have wondered, who were the thoughtful people whose foresight kept this beautiful landscape free of development and free for the public to enjoy?”

Memorial donations may be made in support of any of the many charitable organizations with which Martin worked or to the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, 275 4th St. E #250, St. Paul 55101.


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One response to “St. Croix River public lands protector and Stillwater businessman passes away”

  1. jpauline22 Avatar
    jpauline22

    What an angel! Hopefully this generation will honor that legacy.

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St. Croix River public lands protector and Stillwater businessman passes away