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Learn to camp, paddle and mountain bike in Minnesota’s great outdoors

I Can! program registration begins Monday, May 3

After a year-long hiatus, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is pleased to resume its award-winning program series to help beginners of all ages learn new outdoor skills in a Minnesota state park or recreation area.

The programs, which have been revamped in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols, will restart on the first weekend in June and continue throughout the summer. Registration for the programs begins Monday, May 3.

The program offerings include the following:

  • I Can Camp! – This program provides hands-on instruction on setting up camp, starting a campfire, camp cooking and fun activities to do at Minnesota state parks. All gear is provided, including the tent, air mattresses, cooking gear and other basic camping equipment. One-night, two-night and backpacking programs are available, as well as mini two-hour sessions.
  • I Can Paddle! – This program teaches the basics of canoeing or kayaking, including launching, paddling efficiently and planning a safe outing. The programs are designed for first-time paddlers, and all equipment is provided. Two-hour canoe or kayak programs are available, as well as one-night canoe camping programs.
  • I Can Mountain Bike! – This program teaches mountain bike riding techniques at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, Minnesota’s world class mountain bike destination. Mountain bikes and helmets are provided. 
  • I Can Hike! – This new program provides two-hour hiking sessions that teach people how to safely and comfortably enjoy the outdoors. No experience or specialized gear is necessary, and each program has a longer and shorter distance option to match comfort and ability levels.

“We provide all the gear for our I Can! Programs, 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 all Minnesotans to get outdoors, have fun and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of nature.”

Registration and more information For more information about any of the programs—including program dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements—visit www.mndnr.gov/ican or contact the DNR Information Center at [email protected] or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m-4:30 p.m. Saturday).

To register for any of the I Can! programs, visit www.mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, except holidays). Because the health and safety of our program participants is our highest priority, the DNR is closely monitoring the most recent COVID-19 information and adjusting programs accordingly. Program leaders are ensuring sanitization of all equipment.

Participants will be required to attest to being free of COVID-19 symptoms; maintain social distance between households; wear face coverings in group settings or whenever social distancing is not consistently possible; and not share campsites and equipment with people from other households.

Since 2010, nearly 100,000 people have participated in I Can! programs. The I Can! program 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 percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.