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Learn how to camp, fish, paddle, bike through Minnesota DNR's 'I Can!' program

Summer sessions offer hands-on, real-world training, gear and experience for outdoor newbies.

The "I Can! Paddle" program is one of several offered over the summer by the Minnesota DNR, offering training, gear and experience for first-time paddlers, campers, anglers and bikers.
Contributed / Minnesota DNR

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ “I Can!” program is a series of outdoor classes that helps beginners of all ages and backgrounds learn new outdoor skills.

Registration is open for programs that begin in June and continue through the end of August. Programs include:

  • “I Can Camp!” — Provides hands-on instruction on setting up camp, starting a campfire, camp cooking and fun outdoor activities. All gear is provided, including the tent, air mattresses, cooking gear and other basic camping equipment. One-night, two-night and backpacking sessions are offered.
  • “I Can Paddle!” — Teaches the basics of canoeing or kayaking, including launching, paddling efficiently, and planning a safe outing. These programs are designed for first-time paddlers and equipment is provided. Two-hour canoe or kayak programs, river day trips, sea kayaking, and overnight canoe camping programs are available.
  • “I Can Mountain Bike!” — Teaches mountain bike riding techniques at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, Minnesota’s world class mountain bike park.
  • “I Can Fish!” — Teaches all of the basics, from fish identification to casting.
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“We provide all the gear along with friendly and knowledgeable instructors,” said Ann Pierce, director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s Parks and Trails Division. “Not everyone grows up learning outdoor skills, and for some, lack of experience, equipment or skills can be a barrier to trying new outdoor activities. Our goal is to remove that barrier and make it easy for all Minnesotans to connect to the outdoors, feeling prepared and safe.”

For more information about any of the programs, including program dates, times, locations and minimum age requirements, go to mndnr.gov/ican or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367.

To register for “I Can!” programs, go to mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757.


Since 2010, more than 100,000 people have participated in “I Can!” programs made possible with funding from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008.

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