The DNR “I Can!” program offers participants the chance to learn the outdoor skills necessary to take an overnight canoe camping trip. The overnight adventure trip is one of many summer programs Minnesota state parks and trails has available for beginners of all ages who want to learn to camp, paddle, mountain bike and fish.
Participants on the overnight trip paddle down the St. Croix River to a riverside campsite, learning canoeing skills along the way. After a night of camping on the river, participants will paddle a few miles downriver to St. Croix State Park where the outdoor adventure will come to an end.
“Our goal is to make it easy for busy families to discover the fun of spending time outdoors together,” said Erika Rivers, director of the Department of Natural Resources parks and trails division. “We provide all the gear, along with friendly instructors who can show you how to use it.”
Registrations for the “I Can Paddle! Canoe Camping” program and other classes are being taken now. Programs start in June and continue through August. They include:
• I Can Paddle! Canoe Camping – Learn how to plan for an overnight canoe camping trip. Meals and the use of canoeing and camping equipment are included. Participants must be at least 10 years of age; children under age 18 need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian ($85 for the overnight program; up to two people per canoe).
• I Can Camp! – Develop or refine fire starting and camp cooking skills. Sleep on comfortable air mattresses in tents large enough to accommodate two adults and up to three children ($60 for one-night programs or $85 for two-night programs).
• I Can Paddle! – Get out on the water for a sea kayaking adventure on Lake Superior ($35 for ages 12-18, $45 for adults) or a guided canoeing or kayaking trip on a Minnesota lake or river (prices vary).
• I Can Mountain Bike! – Learn riding techniques and explore mountain bike trails with guides from the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Club ($15 for ages 10-15, $25/adults).
• I Can Fish! – Experience the fun of casting into the water and the excitement when there’s a tug on the line ($7/person, children under age 12 are free).
The “I Can!” series also includes the archery in the parks programs, which are free. No reservations are needed.
For more information about the programs – including dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements – visit mndnr.gov/ican, or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).
To register for an event, visit mndnr.gov/reservations, or call 866-857-2757 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, except holidays). The “I Can!” series is made possible with funding from the parks and trails fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The parks and trails fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths of one percent sales tax revenue from the Legacy Amendment. Revenue to the parks and trails fund may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
The I Can! programs received a government innovation award in 2015. Nearly 18,000 people have participated in these programs since they were first offered in 2010.
– Photo courtesy of the DNR.