Martin Hanson, who left us yesterday at age 81, is not a household name in Wisconsin, but he should be.
The outpouring of accolades by Democratic politicians today gives a clue to his politics. But his love of the environment, and of northern Wisconsin, transcended everything else.
Steve Born said it well in an early morning email, before most had heard the news:
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Martin Hanson -- lifelong conservationist, adventurer, tarpon fishing addict, wildlife photographer, staunch progressive Democrat, raconteur and character extraordinaire, supporter of Trout Unlimited, and dear friend -- died yesterday. His passing leaves a big void space in his beloved North Country.
Others will undoubtedly offer tributes and write about him. Although he never sought publicity for himself, but only for causes he believed in, Martin was the subject of a television documentary, a cover story in the Milwaukee newspaper's Sunday magazine back when there was such a thing, and more.
And there were many causes, from preserving the Apostle Islands to reintroducing elk to Wisconsin.
Martin got his money's worth out of life. He was not short-changed.
If you don't know who Martin Hanson was -- if you never had the pleasure of watching the black bears feed outside his front door in the forest near Mellen, or took a happy hour cruise on his pontoon boat -- here are a few links to get you started: