The Red Wing ELC was started in 1970 by Red Wing community members including Marge Vogel, a local conservationist, Bruce Ause, an outdoor education instructor, and Dan Mjolsness, the superintendent of the Red Wing School district.  These Red Wing citizens recognized the various natural resources that Red Wing has including the bluffs for hiking and rock climbing; small creeks and the Mississippi River for exploration, canoeing, and kayaking; the marshes of the Cannon Bottoms for winter camping and cross-country skiing; and the Cannon Valley Trail for biking.  The ELC also sends its students on adventures beyond southeastern Minnesota: canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, rock climbing on the North Shore of Lake Superior, backpacking in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, sea kayaking around the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, white water rafting in the Grand Canyon, and climbing on Mount Rainier.