Martin Hanson

1927 – 2008
Inducted 2009

Martin Hanson“It’s the hand of man that destroyed it (the natural environment); the hand of man can bring it back far greater by management.” – Martin Hanson

Martin Hanson lived in a secluded retreat near Mellen in northern Wisconsin for most of his life. But for a man who preferred the backwoods to board rooms, he earned quite a reputation.

Newspapers in major cities like Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis took note of his passing in October 2008. “Martin Hanson, a lover of the outdoors, worked quietly at the grass-roots level for environmental causes,” wrote the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Hanson will long be remembered for his efforts to protect Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands, but he was also involved in dozens of conservation causes.

In addition to his passion for conservation, Hanson had a deep interest in politics. He counted the late U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson (Conservation Hall of Fame inductee) and U.S. Rep. David Obey of Wausau among his closest friends.


  • Advocated for creation of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • Instrumental in elk reintroduction in Wisconsin
  • Accomplished wildfire filmmaker
  • Generous supporter of dozens of conservation causes
  • Welcomed wildlife researchers and students to his Mellen property

For more information read his Hall of Fame monograph.