Goal is to fill all state park campsites June 8 to celebrate National Get Outdoors Day
Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen has big plans for the first weekend of summer break: Fill as many Minnesota state parks' campsites with school-aged kids and their families as possible.
"As soon as school's out for the year, let's go camping!" Strommen said. "In fact, today I am issuing a challenge to all Minnesota schoolkids: Let's fill all 4,800 of Minnesota state parks' campsites across the state — our very own Minnesota School's Out-Campout Challenge."
Each year, the DNR celebrates National Get Outdoors Day with free admission to all of Minnesota's 75 state parks and recreation areas. This year, the event will occur on Saturday, June 8. Camping fees still apply.
"Outdoor recreation is a big part of who we are here in Minnesota," Strommen said. "As commissioner, one of my key goals is to connect more people with the outdoors. There are significant, well-documented health and wellness benefits of spending time in nature. So I can think of no better way to kick off summer vacation than a trip to a state park to enjoy the great outdoors."
For those who have never camped before, but have always wanted to try, the DNR offers a suite of "I Can!" programs to teach basic outdoor skills like camping, kayaking, paddling and more. This summer is the 10th year anniversary of the "I Can!" programs, which have taught thousands of Minnesotans valuable skills that will last a lifetime. Program offerings also start June 8.
"Camping is an affordable way for families to spend time together outside and start the summer off right," said Strommen. "State park campsites can cost as little as $15 per night, but we also have overnight options for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities, including yurts, tipis, and camper cabins for $30-70 per night."
To make a reservation for a state park campsite or an "I Can!" program, go to mndnr.gov/reservations, or call 866-857-2757. For more information on "I Can!" programs, go to mndnr.gov/ican.