One of 5 regional DNR offices located here in New Ulm

The State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) established administrative regional offices around the state in January of this year and one of the five offices is in New Ulm.

The administrator of the Southwest Regional Office in New Ulm is Maynard Nelson and he explained why the regional offices were organized.

“The reorganization is part of a plan where the DNR has set up five distinct regions,” Nelson said. “Other regional offices are in Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Brainerd and Rochester.

“Before we reorganized, each division was its own separate entity to a large extent. A fisheries crew took care of problems as it saw fit and game crews went out alone also. We saw where there were instances the two could work together.”

Nelson continued, “There were five different divisions and, although they did work together, they didn’t always work as effectively and efficiently as the state would have liked. They created my position to coordinate all this activity.”

Nelson is a native of Blooming Prairie, a small community in southeastern Minnesota near Austin. He went to Austin Community College and then transferred to the University of Minnesota, where he graduated in 1951 with a degree in fish and wildlife.

He went to work for the State in the Department of Natural Resources in January of 1952. Nelson worked in St. Paul for two years taking wildlife lake surveys, analyzing lake problems and making recommendations for improvements.

In May of 1954 he was assigned to Fairmont as a game biologist and lived there until 1966. During the years 1960-66he worked in Madelia in charge of farm-land research. He became in charge of statewide wildlife research in 1966 and worked in St. Paul until 1973. He moved to this area in January of this year.


THE DNR office is above Herberger’s at the present time, but will be moving to its new location on Highway 15, south of New Ulm, near the Cottonwood River.

“We are in the process of working out plans for the new site,” Nelson commented, “but we need additional funds that must be appropriated at the next session. We’ve got a beautiful site there, courtesy of this community and county.”

Nelson is commuting from Madelia at the present time while his family is living in Stillwater. He and his wife, Anita, have four children,Reid, eight, Curtis, 15,Shelley, 17, and Natalie, 19. Nelson plans on moving here as soon as he can find a house, or he may build one.

Nelson administrator for a 26-county area, said,”I think the job is about what I expected. I’ve got a good staff, I respect them and they respect me. The working together has gone well. It’s working smoothly.

“I think we were very fortunate to find these offices. You can imagine coming to town with 10 or 11 staff members and needing 10 rooms. This is really not a commonplace occurrence I would suspect.”

However, there are some frustrations, for Nelson at this early stage.“We don’t have the muscle to do the job expected of us. I’m concerned that people may become impatient or irritated with us at times because we don’t get around fast enough,”Nelson commented.

Nelson added that he has 120 positions in the 26-county area, including secretaries. He has filled 105 of those positions.“If you spread those over 26 counties and start talking about land management,” Nelson explained, “you find out you just don’t have the muscle to do it.”

Despite that lack of manpower, Nelson believes in the new reorganization. “I think we’re giving the public better service with this overall approach. It’s a more comprehensive approach.”

Nelson likes New Ulm and stated that this regional office will remain in the town indefinitely


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today