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Minnesota lawmakers want to rename state park for Mondale

Joan and Walter Mondale are seen outside the Capitol in St. Paul in this 2007 Forum file photo.

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s portion of Interstate State Park along the St. Croix River would be renamed after one of its biggest champions — former Vice President Walter Mondale — under a new proposal.

A bipartisan of group of Minnesota lawmakers has introduced a bill seeking the name change.

“Interstate Park is the first such interstate park in the nation. For decades, Minnesotans have marveled at its storied history and natural beauty,” said Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point. “It’s only fitting that we renew the spirit of bipartisanship that led to the park’s creation.”

Housley is backing a bill introduced by House Democrats to rename the park for Mondale who has a storied history in Minnesota politics serving as a state attorney general, U.S. senator and vice president.

Interstate Park is in both Minnesota and Wisconsin and is within the boundaries of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The riverway became part of the national park system 50 years ago after being championed by Mondale and his colleague Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who also founded Earth Day.

It is unclear if a state law that prohibits naming geographic features after living people will need to be changed so the park could be renamed for Mondale.

Housley hopes Wisconsin lawmakers will consider naming their state’s portion of Interstate Park after Sen. Nelson.