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Earth Day is April 22; sign up for state park programs to enjoy the great outdoors

Star Herald Editorial

Just in time for next week’s Earth Day celebration, the Minnesota DNR has opened registration for summer 2024 “I Can!” programs in state parks and recreation areas.

Getting outdoors and enjoying nature is the perfect way to observe Earth Day, which is Monday, April 22, and residents are encouraged to make the most of DNR programs.

“At the DNR, we are passionate about empowering people to explore the beauty of nature and gain confidence in outdoor activities they might have never experienced before,” said Eric Pelto, special programs coordinator for “I Can!”

“Our goal is to remove barriers that keep people from trying new outdoor activities by providing the equipment and knowledge to get started,” he said.

“I Can!” is an award-winning series of outdoor programs from the Minnesota DNR that helps beginners learn new outdoor skills in a state park or recreation area setting.

Programs are offered during the summer beginning the first weekend in June and continuing through the end of August. They are low-cost, thanks to funding from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

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 backpack sessions are offered.

I Can Paddle! Teaches the basics of canoeing or kayaking, including launching, paddling efficiently, and planning a safe outing. It’s 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 Fish! offers basics from fish identification to casting.

Participants will be ready to begin a lifetime of memories on Minnesota’s lakes and streams.


Schedules and registration

Visit the DNR’s “I Can!” webpage at for information. To register for the “I Can!” programs, see or call 866-857-2757.

“Whether you're a novice or simply looking to expand your horizons, our low-cost programs offer the perfect opportunity to extend your comfort zone and make lasting memories in the great outdoors,” Parks and Trails Division Director Ann Pierce said.

“From camping under the stars to paddling Minnesota’s waters, we provide expert instruction and all the necessary equipment for a safe and unforgettable experience.”

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