Craig Engwall of Dora Lake, Minn., is new executive director of Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

Engwall, 51, a lifelong deer hunter, is an attorney and current forest legacy projects coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He was the DNR's northeast regional director from 2006 to 2013.

Engwall also was a special assistant to the DNR commissioner from 2004 to 2006 and worked as an assistant attorney general from 1995 to 2003.

"I have always greatly admired the work that the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has done on behalf of Minnesota deer hunters, so to now become a part of the MDHA team and contribute to those efforts is truly exciting," said Engwall.

Engwall replaces Mark Johnson, who left recently to become executive director of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

 Engwall has a deer camp that is more than 50 years old and has family ties to Duluth and Winthrop. He lives at Dora Lake in Itasca County, about 20 miles southeast of Northome. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1986 and the University of Minnesota Law School in 1991. He has worked on natural resources and agriculture issues at both the state and federal levels, including facilitating the linkage between the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program and the Federal Conservation Reserve (CRP) and Wetlands Reserve Programs (WRP).

He was a key player in Minnesota acquiring the largest conservation easement in state history -- the nearly 200,000 acre Blandin Paper Co. project that protects forest lands from parcelization while providing habitat and public access to those lands.

He joins the non-profit MDHA, which has about 15,000 members, on Jan. 2.

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