Frontenac park manager retires after 26 years
By all accounts, Harry Roberts loved his job and did it well.
Roberts, manager at Frontenac State Park, retired last month after 26 years on the job and 38 years with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
"It was time," said Roberts, 62. "Time to change over to younger minds and younger bodies."
After more than a quarter of a century as manager, Roberts said he witnessed quite a few changes at Frontenac State Park. But looking back, he said he is most proud of his efforts to build the park's staff.
"We hired a number of really great people," said Roberts, who went on to describe the workers at the park as "strong and dedicated."
Bruce Ause, former director of the Red Wing Environmental Learning Center, recalled when Roberts asked him to volunteer as a naturalist at the park around 10 years ago.
"He has been extremely supportive of providing learning activities for people who camp there," Ause said.
"Harry has been a wonderful custodian of the park," Ause continued. "He has put in many hours to make the park what it is today."
Joanne Klees, manager of the nearby Hok-Si-La Park in Lake City, said she met Roberts in 2002.
"He has been a wonderful resource," Klees said. "He absolutely loved his work and managed the park to ensure the best for people and the resources."
Roberts said he has not thought much about what to do with his free time now that he is retired.
"I'm just going to take it slow," he said.
An avid bicyclist, Roberts said his first plan is to ride some of the state's bike trails over the next few months. "Especially now that we have weather conducive to do that," he said.
There will be an open house to celebrate Robert's career 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday May 5 at Hok-Si-La Park, 2500 Highway 61.