People can learn to camp or refresh their rusty outdoor skills during a one-night I Can Camp! program being offered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Division on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Maplewood State Park in northwestern Minnesota.
Experienced instructors from Conservation Corps Minnesota will teach participants basic camping and outdoor skills, including camp cooking, and how to set up a tent and build a campfire. All camping equipment is provided (including tents, air mattresses and cook stoves). Participants must bring their own food and bedding (sleeping bags or blankets, and pillows).
The program costs $35 for a tent accommodating up to six people. A one-day vehicle pass will be included as part of the program fee, or participants may buy a year-round Minnesota state parks permit for an additional $20.
Maplewood State Park, near Pelican Rapids, has a sandy swimming beach, excellent fishing and an extensive network of multi-purpose trails that wind around eight major lakes and many ponds. While at the park, campers will have the opportunity to try out geocaching, fishing and nature photography.
For more information, visit mwww.mndnr.gov (dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/can_camp.html); for reservations, call 866-857-2757 (TTY: 952-936-4008) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
The I Can Camp! programs are part of an ongoing effort by the DNR Parks and Trails Division to connect people with the outdoors. They also offer skill-building programs that introduce fishing, paddling, climbing and archery to beginners. These programs were created in response to research that indicated declining participation in outdoor recreation by young families.
Funding for the I Can Camp! programs is 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 sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.