I Can Paddle! 2011
Many people are interested in paddling but don’t have the equipment or expertise to head out on their own. The “I Can Paddle!” program is designed to provide participants with first-hand opportunities to learn basic skills necessary for planning and taking a safe, fun and efficient canoe trip on both Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.
New in 2011, the “I Can Paddle!” program saw much success and received rave reviews from participants. 10 programs were hosted between June and August providing 166 participants with paddling opportunities. Throughout the summer participants often had wonderful things to say about the program, most commonly participants stated they enjoyed the small group sizes and they enjoyed learning from experienced and entertaining instructors.
After some 50 years of growth, nature-based recreation turned a corner in the 1990s and is now declining on a per-capita basis in Minnesota and nationally. Per-capita visits to state and national parks, use of state trails, hunting, fishing, boating, wildlife watching, and wilderness use are all down. The primary contributing trend is a drop in participation by young adults (ages 20 to 40) and their children.
In 2011 our goal was to plan and host 14 workshops to teach paddling skills in Minnesota State Parks and on Minnesota State Water Trails.
In the pilot season of “I Can Paddle!” (2011) we hosted 10 workshops 71% of initial goal. Due to the state government shutdown and inclement weather throughout the summer 4 workshops had to be canceled. The 10 workshops that were held provided 166 people with hands on learning and educational fun.