News & Notes

Uganda: What impressed me most

By Chris Nelson, Chattahoochee Nature Center Executive Director. Artwork by Ugandan students, proceeds from which fund local schools and create sustainable communities integral to protecting gorilla habitat.

In January, my wife and I traveled to Uganda and our first trip to Africa. Our small travel group from the Chattahoochee Nature Center was led by a wonderful local team from Wilderness Inquiry, a partner organization.

We spent an amazing 12 days traveling 1000+ miles overland visiting four national parks and countless other stops along the way. Each stop held a new surprise: remarkable animals, beautiful people, and breathtaking vistas–from acacia savannas to lush tropical rainforests! (more…)

Meet the Outdoor Career Academy graduates! Our future leaders

St. Paul students traded-in their spring break plans to camp, paddle, and expand their career options. From day one of Outdoor Career Academy (OCA), they demonstrated teamwork and leadership as they climbed into Voyageur canoes and paddled Lake Phalen. The curriculum was packed with sessions taught by industry professionals offering certificates in First Aid, CPR, Leave No Trace, and included a visit to the University of Minnesota Recreation Administration department. (more…)

Apostle Islands: The Accessible National Park

Spending time on Stockton and Sand Islands in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore may have been noisier than expected during the summer of 2016, but the result was worth the ruckus. This February, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore received the National Park Service “Accessibility Excellence” Award for developing universally designed campsites at Quarry Bay on Stockton Island and East Bay on Sand Island. Sites now include a boardwalk leading to oversized tent pads, making the sites accessible for individuals with limited mobility.

Combined with Wilderness Inquiry’s accessible base camp near Little Sand Bay, these improvements make the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore one of America’s most accessible national park units.

WI featured by Christopher Reeve Foundation

Wilderness Inquiry is proud to be included in the Reeve Foundation’s Paralysis Resource Guide, a select publication highlighting best practices for people living with spinal cord injuries.

Wilderness Inquiry was established almost 40 years ago with a simple mission: to connect people with the natural world. Founded on the belief that anyone could enjoy wilderness on its own terms, one of the organization’s first trips was to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters in 1977 and included two people who used wheelchairs and two people who are deaf. (more…)

Real cooks, real fire: 5 best campfire meals

Come-on baby, light that campfire. Cooking in the wild just got a whole lot more interesting! Whether you’re digging a fire pit or working over a fire ring, rimmed with rock or brick, you want to be sure the blaze has died down a little to an even burn.

A Taste of the Apostles guide and cookbook author, Beth Dooley, shares the best five meals you can make over a campfire.


Defying disability in the depths of winter

“These trips are textbook examples of why Wilderness Inquiry exists, bringing people of all ability levels together to build community and accomplish common goals. These trips are what make us who we are,” said outdoor leader Larry Raineri, having just wrapped up the second Boundary Waters Winter Adventure of the season with Living Well Disability Services. These trips bring people of all ability and experience levels together to enjoy Minnesota’s natural wonders in depths of winter.


Students from Career Ventures learn job skills while repairing boats

Every other week, students from Career Ventures volunteer their time and talent to make an impact at Wilderness Inquiry. Career Ventures serves people who are Deaf, Deafblind, Hard-of-Hearing, Blind and Low Vision. The partnership between Wilderness Inquiry and Career Ventures is mutually beneficial, with students learning job-related skills while providing amazing work that contributes to fulfilling WI’s mission.


Beth Finch, John Butler, and Doug Martin join Wilderness Inquiry’s Board of Directors

Wilderness Inquiry is thrilled to welcome Beth Finch, John Butler, and Doug Martin as new board members. Our Board is an involved and experienced group of volunteers who are dedicated to carrying out WI’s mission. Beth, John, and Doug have been enthusiastically elected to join our team!

All introduced to WI in a unique way, our newly appointed board members bring a wide range of skills to Wilderness Inquiry’s leadership team and have a strong connection to our mission of discovering common ground through inclusive outdoor adventures.  (more…)

Breaking the ice: Somali-American youth in America’s winter wilderness

Wilderness Inquiry’s winter Boundary Waters trip with Ka Joog, a nonprofit that works with Somali youth, was recently featured in Minnesota Monthly Magazine. By Alexandra Baumhardt.

The world outside the 15-passenger van is blindingly white. Snow blankets the forest floor, the white pine and birch trees, and falls from a phosphorescently bright, white sky. 

Inside, 11-year-old Saed Mohamed of Minneapolis presses his nose against the window. “How’d you know there’d be snow up here?” he asks the twentysomething wilderness guide at the wheel. Somewhat apprehensively, Saed zips his coat up to his chin and pulls his hat over his ears. Though he’s grown up in Minnesota, this is totally new territory for him. (more…)

I am the strength behind ataxia — A tribute to Sarah Hale

We are saddened by the loss of long-time Wilderness Inquiry adventurer Sarah Hale. We sincerely admire her determination in the face of disease and her commitment to helping others with ataxia through her work with the National Ataxia Foundation. With permission, we’re posting an abridged version of her memorial written by her sister.

By: Helena Mbele-Mbong

This is a tribute to my sister, Sarah Elizabeth Hale, who died of complications due to ataxia in December 2016, aged 67. It is also a tribute to the National Ataxia Foundation and to Wilderness Inquiry, both of which made a significant contribution to the quality of her life in her last eight years. (more…)

Canoemobile inspires future conservation leaders!

This article originally appeared in the United States Department of Agriculture’s blog by Leah Anderson.

A young girl looks fearfully at the large wooden canoe bobbing on the water. She steps into the canoe and it moves. She yelps, and is given a reassuring smile by her boat captain. She gets settled holding her paddle tightly, convinced with every movement that the canoe will capsize. (more…)

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