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!