DNR honors legacy of noted conservationist

Courtesy of the Minnesota DNR


The conservation contributions of the late Dr. Don McMillan were memorialized Oct. 6 during a dedication in his honor at the Dishpan Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Dora Lake in northern Itasca County.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) honored the former Mendota Heights resident by dedicating waterfowl pools on the WMA in his name and by placing a monument at the site.

McMillan, former president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA), passed away earlier this year at age 74.

“Don was a visionary,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “He saw possibilities, made them realities, and did so in an unassuming way that garnered the respect and admiration of his peers.”

Landwehr said the new monument in McMillan’s honor will be both a testament to the past and a signpost for future.

“Hopefully, the McMillan monument will inspire others to be like Don … a champion of wild lands, an advocate for clean waters, and a believer that hunting and angling should be a strong thread in the fabric of our society forever,” he said.

McMillan served as president of the MOHA from 2007 – 2012, and worked to promote the passage of Minnesota’s legacy amendment, as well as the Minnesota constitutional amendment to preserve hunting and fishing in the state’s heritage.

He was a decorated military veteran and lieutenant colonel in the Minnesota Air National Guard as a dental surgeon for 30 years.

He was an avid outdoors-man who was actively involved in a number of conservations organizations, including Safari Club International and the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses.

“People joined forced with Don because he was so likeable, reasonable and capable of getting big things done,” said Landwehr. “Because of his commitment to conservation and his fellow sportsmen and women, we all benefit from wilder lands and a more secure future for Minnesota’s outdoor heritage.”

Tim Spreck, president of MOHA, shared a similar sentiment. “Don McMillan’s steadfast conviction and willingness to take on tough issues has resulted in an incredible legacy of accomplishment over the years,” said Spreck. “Subsequent generations of sportsmen and women, not yet born, will enjoy a fuller experience as a result of his tireless advocacy and dedication.”

The dedication ceremony included speakers from the DNR, Safari Club International, MOHA, the McMillan family and others, as well as dedication of a monument in McMillan’s honor.

Established in 1975 primarily for waterfowl production, the 1,524-acre Dishpan WMA provides waterfowl, grouse, woodcock and deer hunting opportunities.

For more information about the Dishpan WMA or other wildlife management areas and their uses, visit the DNR Web site.