Not every youth has the good fortune of growing up with a fishing rod in his or her hands. Or a paddle. And not every kid gets to spend time in a tent or, say, on a mountain bike.
But with the Minnesota DNR's "I Can!" program, they can get a better feel for these outdoors endeavors while experiencing another Minnesota tradition – state parks.
Registration for the 2018 "I Can!" programs that teach fishing, paddling, camping and mountain biking at Minnesota state parks and trails opened Tuesday, March 27. The programs, which help beginners of all ages learn outdoor skills, start in June and continue through the end of August. They include:
- 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).
- 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 experience on a Minnesota lake or river (prices vary).
- I Can Camp! – Develop (or brush up on) fire-starting and camp cooking skills and sleep on comfy 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 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).
The I Can! series also includes the Archery in the Parks programs, which are free and for which no reservations are needed.
“We provide all the gear along with friendly instructors who can show you how to use it,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “Our goal is to make it easy for busy families to discover the fun of spending time outdoors together.”
For more information – including program dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements – visit www.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, visit www.mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, except holidays).
The program received a Government Innovation Award in 2015. More than 15,400 people have participated in these programs since they were first offered in 2010.