Put down the electronic gadgets, get off the couch and plunge into the Great Outdoors.
That's the message for youths and their parents at the third annual Minnesota Outdoor Youth Expo next Saturday and Sunday at Hugo.
Among the activities: clay-target shooting, firearm safety, mock hunts, archery, casting, fishing, fly-tying, canoeing, kayaking, camping, dog handling and training, birds of prey demonstrations, outdoor cooking, nature walks, geocaching, ATV rider safety education and more.
Kids can also try climbing, golfing, basketball and paintball. More than 60 organizations, experts and educators will be on hand.
"The goal is to help young people develop a lifelong passion for the outdoors,'' said Jeff Hughes, co-owner of Wild Wings of Oneka Hunt Club. The event will be held rain or shine 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days on the club's 65 acres of wooded trails and fields.
Cost is $5 for adults, free for kids 15 and younger; parking is free, as are most activities. For more information, see www.mnoutdooryouthexpo.com.Shooting carp
The third annual Chisago Lakes Lions Club Carp Fest is Saturday at Lions Park in Lindstrom. Archers will be shooting carp on North Center and South Center lakes, though all legal methods, including nets and hook and line, are allowed. Participants must register by May 17 to be eligible for prizes. Entry forms are available at www.chisagolakeschamber.com or at Frankie's Live Bait in Chisago City. Entry is $30 for the adult division and $15 for the junior division. For more information, contact Steve Levey at 651-331-6695 or 651-257-2966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Big turkey harvest
Minnesota's turkey hunters continue to harvest birds at a near-record pace. Through season "D,'' which closed Monday, hunters had shot 8,397 turkeys. That compares to 8,901 birds killed during the same period in 2010, when hunters bagged a record 13,467. Last year, for comparison, hunters had shot 6,396 during the first four hunting periods.
Bonding bill money
The bonding bill approved by the Legislature last week allocates $46.5 million to the DNR, but $35 million of that is for flood hazard mitigation grants, dam repair or road and bridge work.
Some $4 million went to state parks and trails for repairs or replacement of buildings or infrastructure, $2.5 million went for state forest restoration and $2 million went for development of Lake Vermillion State Park.
Meanwhile, the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) received $6 million for Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easements to provide wildlife habitat, flood retention and water quality benefits. Another $13.8 million in Legacy Amendment dollars was allocated for the program.
That total of nearly $20 million in state money will be matched by about $16 million in federal Wetland Reserve Program dollars -- which will restore or preserve habitat on about 10,000 acres, said John Jaschke, BWSR executive director.
Those lands will be even more crucial, Jaschke said, given the expected removal this year of thousands of acres from the federal Conservation Reserve Program.
Doug Smith • email@example.com