Traveler - A Family Tradition

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parks and rec


A monthly e-newsletter to encourage “I Can!” program participants and other families to continue learning about the outdoors.

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May 2019

Park Highlight:  Sibley and Whitewater State Parks


vintage picnic photo at Whitewater State Park


Each year since 1919, families return to Sibley State Park and Whitewater State Park in southern Minnesota, often reserving the same campsites or cabins that hold special meaning to them. From near and far they gather to share our outdoor heritage and to spend time together in nature. This year marks the Centennial Anniversary of both of these special places and park staff invite you to come experience the fun and beauty that awaits.

At Sibley State Park, you can hike Mount Tom, enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing on Lake Andrew, canoe on Henschien Lake and Swan Lake, camp, ride horses, picnic, and participate in year-round interpretive programs. Whitewater State Park boasts similar offerings with trout fishing, swimming, hiking trails that range from easy to challenging, camping, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and year-round interpretive programs as well as visitor center exhibits and self-guided trails.

Come discover what these special parks have to offer!

inside camper cabin

The List: Parks with Camping


Sibley, Whitewater and many other Minnesota state parks offer camping accommodations.  There are many different ways to experience camping; from tent camping to campers, cabins, yurts and group centers.

Use the Park Finder tool to search for different camping opportunities available at Minnesota state parks.


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Find out more about camping in Minnesota state parks.

Game Time: Outdoors in Every Language


Encourage your family to love the outdoors by exploring a variety of activities and finding ones that you enjoy together!  

Below is an outdoor action word to share with young children to build literacy skills and to experience the joy of connecting with nature.

This month's outdoor action word is "kneel."  Look around your yard or neighborhood for young plants growing this spring.  Kneel down and look closely at the shapes, colors and textures.  Can you find any insects living on or in the plants in your neighborhood?

kneel in many languages


An excerpt from “Let’s Play Outside! 50 Ways to Connect Kids with Nature,” a project of the 2014 Collaborative Leadership Fellows Program, Rochester, MN.


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Traveler Tip:  Where to Learn about Camping


How does someone who's more comfortable with computers than campfires get introduced to the fun of camping? With a one-night or two-night I Can Camp! overnight program—no experience necessary. Our I Can Camp! crew will be on hand day and night to answer all of your "how do I do it?" questions. Find out more.

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Watch a short Youtube video about the I Can Camp! program.

foraging morels

Discover:  Foraging 101


Have you ever heard the saying that when the oak leaves are the size of a mouse's ear and the lilacs are blooming that morel mushrooms will be popping up?  Morels are tasty mushrooms found commonly during the spring season in hardwood forests, especially near dead elm trees.

Minnesota state park rules allow visitors to forage (gather) fruits, nuts, berries and mushrooms only for personal consumption (not to sell for profit).  Foraging can be very gratifying as it combines the challenge of hunting edible plants with the reward of eating the tasty morsels you find.  But it is important to know exactly what you are picking and safe methods of handling and preparing wild edibles.  It is equally important to be respectful to the natural environment and to use ethical foraging techniques.  Find out more about foraging in Minnesota.


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Discover more about our natural resources with stories from the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine!

park staff

Meet the Field Staff


Get to know some of the field staff who take care of your Minnesota State Parks and Trails!

Meet Colin Wright!  Colin has been the Assistant Park Manager at Sibley State Park since February 2017 and has worked at various Minnesota state parks since 2013.  He enjoys the challenge of helping manage buildings, roads, trails, utilities (such as electricity, sewer, and water), a budget, enforcement and resource activities, historic landmarks, education and outreach and the amazing people who visit our parks.  Colin enjoys the rewards of seeing all of these aspects of park operations come together and function as a whole.

Colin's favorite spot at Sibley State Park is along the boardwalk on the Pondview Trail where he has many childhood memories of time spent with friends and family.  The trail offers great views of native prairie plants, birds, an old homestead, and amazing wildflowers. 

Colin enjoys fishing from a boat and spending time on Lake Andrew, just offshore from Sibley State Park.  His favorite animals are the Common Loon and his Golden Retriever named Boulder.  Loons are among Minnesota’s most distinctive waterfowl and their calls can be heard from quite a distance.  Boulder is always happy and is a great companion for outdoor adventures.

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Interested in working for DNR? Check out DNR internship postings!

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Upcoming Centennial Events


Help Sibley State Park and Whitewater State Park celebrate their 100th Anniversaries this year!

Check out some of the upcoming Centennial events:

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Find more activities at Minnesota state parks and trails.

Find past issues of the Traveler.