Kids participate in last year's Canyonlands Field Institute's La Sal Mountains Explorer Base Camp. [Photo courtesy CFI]

Canyonlands Field Institute (CFI) will offer two Youth Explorer Base Camps for students entering the fifth through eighth grade. The camps, which take place at Warner Lake Campground in the La Sal Mountains, will offer outdoor learning adventures.

CFI, which was founded in 1984 as a nonprofit organization offering outdoor education and licensed outfitting for Moab area, started hosting the Explorer Base Camps several years ago to expand summer opportunities for local students.

“(The program) started out with us wanting to reach out,” CFI sales manager Stacy Dezelsky said. “The camp draws people from out of the area, but it has a local focus. So many kids have working parents and are kind of wandering about without much programming available for them. This gives kids the opportunity to learn about camping, cooking, and leadership skills.”

Dezelsky said it is also nice to give the kids a chance to escape the desert heat and spend some time in mountains.

“Kids can get out and hike where it is cooler,” she said.

Hannah Boone, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working with CFI for this season, said the camp also offers kids a chance to take a break from all the technology in everyone’s daily lives.

“Also, Explorer Base Camp is an opportunity for kids to really enjoy and appreciate the outdoors, and escape the trappings of modern-day life,” she said. “Campers spend four straight days at the beautiful and cool Warner Lake Campground in the La Sal Mountains, removed from cell phones, internet, and video games; an experience people rarely have these days.”

The Youth Explorer Base Camp will offer two different sessions. The first session will start Tuesday, July 8 and run through Friday, July 11. The second session starts Tuesday, July 15 and ends Friday, July 18.

“Most years, we have added a third camp to accommodate people when we were sold out,” Dezelsky said. “This year, instead of going with a third camp, we have expanded the capacity of the two camps. There are still spaces left in both camps right now.”

While at the camps, kids will participate in activities such as nature games, hikes, fishing, story telling, art and hands-on science activities. The fee for the camp covers transportation, tents, meals and land-use permits.

“The last the group goes out on paddle boats down the Colorado River,” Dezelsky said. “It is a fun way to end the week.”

Fees for the four-day sessions start at $200 per student. However students attending Grand County School District pay a discounted price of $150. There is also a 10-percent discount given for siblings.

CFI also offers two different scholarships, which are based on household income and number of family members in the household.  The additional funding to help cover the scholarships comes in part from Canyon Voyages and Grand County Credit Union.

 “Some kids, depending on household income, can attend and pay only $50 or $75 per child,” Dezelsky said.

 Additional information about scholarships and the Explorer Base Camps can be found at or by calling 435-259-7750. Both camps will be led by trained CFI Naturalist Guides.

“CFI is well-known for high quality staff,” Boone said. “During the school year, CFI guides spend their days with school groups on the river and at the Field Camp and are very experienced in outdoor instruction. With college degrees and lifelong interest in outdoor and environmental education, CFI guides are exceptional teachers, friends, and role models for the campers.”

What: La Sal Mountains Explorer Base Camp

Where: Warner Lake, La Sal Mountains

When: July 8 to July 11 and July 15 to July 18

Cost: Varies, contact CFI at 435-259-7750

4-day outings take place in cool air of La Sal Mountains