Superior Hero Tales: Minnesota DNR Staff

July 8, 2020

DNR = Decent, (k)Nowledgeable, Reliable 

We see our relationship with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) like a good marriage — it’s on solid ground, but there are, and always will be, issues.

Our dealings with individual DNR employees are almost always fruitful and enjoyable.  Sometimes their efforts are well beyond the call of their normal (and overloaded) duties.

We salute as Superior Heroes two DNR employees whose work with us in recent months exemplifies the highest levels of public service.

Paul Ouren is a bridge engineer with DNR. We first encountered Paul in trying to get free answers to our questions about building sturdier bridges than what SHTA has put up historically. Paul was always gracious with his time and insights — and he wasn’t even involved in any SHT bridge.

You can see Paul’s engineering handiwork in many state parks along the North Shore, including on this bridge over the Cross River.

But then along came the Split Rock River bridge. State park officials wanted us to rebuild that missing bridge (click here to read more on that), and Paul was assigned the project. He developed the plan for the bridge and designed the piers.

We will not build the bridge over the Split Rock River that Paul designed, but we got the feeling it was all in a day’s work for him. We thank Paul for his patience, professionalism and good cheer throughout our Split Rock bridge travails.

And we also salute a “DNR official,” let’s call her, as she wished to remain anonymous. Her patient and persistent service on our behalf from deep within the catacombs of the agency were most helpful.

That’s all we can say. (You know who you are!)

Have a hero for the Trail you’d like to nominate? Let us know using this form.