Ever been on a “Gangster Canoe Ride”? We haven’t either, but thanks to a creative new program by Minneapolis based Wilderness Inquiry, we all can.
A pioneer press article this week featured an August canoe tour by Wilderness Inquiry on the Mississippi River. Ten city-dwellers rode in 24-foot canoes to learn about the history of organized crime in the Twin Cities during prohibition. The tour was one of 14 themed tours offered this summer as a way to get the general public out on the water.
Wilderness Inquiry (WI) has been making great strides in introducing urbanites to paddling and the outdoors. In addition to the themed tours, the organization has been introducing youth to canoeing through Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program, which has a goal of introducing 10,000 youth annually to “direct ‘hands-on’ experience with nature.”
This year, WI is expanding its reach beyond the Twin Cities to Cincinnati, Ohio by partnering with the Camping and Education Foundation. A parent foundation to two wilderness camps based on Rainy Lake in Northern Minnesota, the Foundation and WI are hosting an Ohio River Paddle October 8 – 12. By hosting three to four hour paddles, the organizations hope to get 250 urban youth outside.
As to whether one outing can change someone’s opinion about the outdoors? According the Pioneer Press article, one participant said “the experience changed her opinion of the bustling Mississippi River and made her more confident in her knowledge of canoeing, wilderness and local history.”