Wilderness Inquiry Canomobile connects local youth and communities to the outdoors to build generations of community and environmental stewards, and promote healthy, active lifestyles. The heavily industrialized Calumet Region spans Northwest Indiana and Southeast Chicago, Illinois. Supporting the Calumet Region Wilderness Paddle exposes over 3,660 students to paddling in urban waterways by funding the Calumet Region Wilderness Paddle.
Since 1978 Wilderness Inquiry continues to connect people to the outdoors, build a land stewardship ethic, foster appreciation for nature’s gifts, and introduce youth to outdoor recreation, environmental sciences and natural resource management. Program participants board six 24' Voyageur canoes, with trained staff from various agencies where approximately 54 students per trip explore local waters. Partnering organizations provided land-based education, including basic water safety, watershed education, water quality assessment and the history of the Voyageur fur traders.
The NPS would like to expand our outreach to bring both paddling and the environmental education programing to neighboring underserved communities reaching 3500 students and 1500 members of the general public across the Calumet region. Funding would allow the Wilderness Inquiry’s Canomobile, to visit this bi-state region in the fall of 2016 bringing with them canoes, equipment and trained staff. Funding will also be used for advertising to invite the local community to participate during the public paddling days. The program is enthusiastically supported by: Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, the U.S. EPA, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, the Dunes Learning Center, the Chicago Field Museum, Openlands, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Gary School Corporation, City Schools of Hammond, Chicago Wilderness and the Northwest Indiana Urban Waters Partnership.