Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Forest Service Partners with Wilderness Inquiry Program in D.C. Area

Wilderness Inquiry staff member Emily Walz leads a group in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on the Superior National Forest, Minnesota

Wilderness Inquiry staff member Emily Walz leads a group in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on the Superior National Forest, Minnesota

You don’t have to be in a lake or river, on a forest or in a wilderness area to participate in the outdoors.

If you live in a city, a fun and interesting outdoor experience can be right in your own backyard.

Through the Forest Service’s partnership with the Wilderness Inquiry’s Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program, hundreds of inner city youth from the Washington, D.C. area are exploring the beauty of the Anacostia River in voyageur canoes Oct. 23-27.

Since the early 1980s, the Forest Service has worked with Wilderness Inquiry on a wide range of projects to increase the involvement of people from diverse backgrounds and with varying ability levels in sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities.

Since 1997, the Forest Service has had a Memorandum of Understanding with Wilderness Inquiry. This agreement recently renewed during a signing ceremony at the Forest Service’s headquarters’ building in Washington, D.C., recognizes the mutual commitment of the agency and Wilderness Inquiry toward the goal of sustainable outdoor recreation for all.

Wilderness Inquiry started the Urban Wilderness Adventures program four years ago in cooperation with the National Park Service, Forest Service, and 34 other organizations to encourage youth to get outdoors more.  The program introduces 12,000 urban youth annually to their local waterways in cities throughout the Eastern Region of the Forest Service, including Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The program works with local school districts to reach thousands of inner city youth, providing them opportunities to experience and learn about their local waterways such as the Mississippi, Ohio, Potomac, or Harlem Rivers. More than 30,000 youth from 20 different urban school districts have participated. The program incorporates a progression of experiences, from day-trips to overnights, multi-day wilderness adventures, and educational and vocational opportunities.

The U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees at most of its day-use recreation sites over the Veterans Day holiday weekend, Nov. 10-12. The fee waiver days support the goals of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside. To find a forest near you, check out our Forest Locator Map!

2 Responses to “Forest Service Partners with Wilderness Inquiry Program in D.C. Area”

  1. Jennifer Helber says:

    As a lifelong canoeist from Missouri, I would be interested in starting such a program in Kansas City. I live in the River Market area in downtown KC, and my loft overlooks the Missouri River. I can envision short floats down river–but there is not a good access point to launch from my area (Main Street, at the Town of Kansas Bridge). I wonder if there is a way to coordinate with the Port Authority to build an access point?

  2. Deidra McGee says:

    Hi Jennifer: I would suggest that you contact the Missouri Department of Conservation, Kansas City regional office to see what the existing canoe launch sites are on the Missouri River in the vicinity of the city and what is planned for the future. This office can be contacted at 816-622-0900 and is located at 12405 SE Ranson Rd., Lees Summit Missouri 64082.

Leave a Reply