The importance of the next generation isn’t lost on the DNR. Or Rori Stumvoll and the Cuyuna chapter of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists.
In recent years, the DNR has stepped up efforts to reach youths in hopes of reversing a trend that has seen fewer youngsters participating in outdoors activities. Saturday and Sunday’s Take-A-Kid-Hunting Weekend is yet another example of that initiative, which gives adults an incentive — besides the obvious one of getting their kids outdoors — to help the cause.
Minnesota residents 19 and older can hunt without a license by bringing along a youth younger than 16. Adults hunt for free but youths must possess a small game license, which is free and available at any DNR license agent or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Standard shooting and possession limits apply.
Take-A-Kid-Hunting Weekend helped kick off the state waterfowl season Saturday.
“It’s a great time for experienced hunters to focus on their kids and help them hone outdoor skills,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator for the DNR. “But it’s an even better opportunity for those who want to kindle an outdoors interest in their children to get outside together and talk, listen and learn.
“Spending quality time in the woods with kids is rewarding. As adults, it’s easy for us to forget that someone somewhere helped us first discover the outdoors.”
Information about DNR youth opportunities is available online at mndnr.gov/discover.
For Stumvoll and MORC, International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on Oct. 1 is more a matter of reaching the future stewards of mountain biking and, ultimately, the new, world-class mountain bike trail in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
“Our kids will be the ones dealing with and maintaining the trail in five to 10 years,” said Stumvoll, the event’s local organizer.
International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day is in its eighth year, but with the CCSRA trail system in its first year, this is the first time there has been a local tie-in of note for such an event. The local event, scheduled from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 1, is one of 300 that the International Mountain Bicycling Association hopes will get 30,000 kids on mountain bikes that day.
“I think there are a lot of kids out there who are mountain biking and it would be nice to get more,” Stumvoll said when asked how many kids he thought the local event might draw. “If they can ride a bike (they can participate).
“If we’re swamped there might be a wait (for bikes). Hopefully we’ll have that problem.”
The exact site hasn’t been determined, Stumvoll said, adding that it will be on a segment of the trail not far from the boat landing at the Pennington mine pit lake access or just down the road at Crosby’s city park. He is working with local bike shops to get demo bikes and helmets for those who don’t have their own, including for adults accompanying their kids. Culligan Water of Baxter will provide water for participants, Stumvoll said.
“We just want to be a part of the national movement to get people on the trails, having fun and being active,” Stumvoll said. “Our group is dedicated to the trails system in Cuyuna lakes and we want people to enjoy them.
“We’re trying to get our club involved and do things in the community.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Stumvoll at 838-8898.