Often described as “the best day of the year,” our Great River Race brings together friends and supporters of Wilderness Inquiry for a day of purpose, impact, and fun. And this year’s 12th annual race was no different!
More than 350 partners, funders, students, volunteers, paddlers, board members, and staff raced and cheered along the Mighty Mississippi River in support of closing the outdoor opportunity gap for youth. The day raised more than $135,000 for our Canoemobile and Outdoor Credit Recovery programs, which engage thousands of youth each year in hands-on, environmental opportunities to learn, grow, explore, and thrive in the outdoors.
Remarks by Wilderness Inquiry’s Executive Director Erika Rivers, Menlo Park Academy Youth Worker and Wilderness Inquiry Outdoor Leader Talon Benavides, and City of Saint Paul Chief Resilience Officer Russ Stark inspired the crowd before paddlers took to the river.
Included in the 27 canoes racing – and for the first time in the event’s history – we welcomed two American Sign Language (ASL) teams. Longtime support from the Minneapolis Foundation and strong community partnerships helped make this possible.
The day on the river exemplified the power of a shared outdoor opportunity – similar to what youth experience through Canoemobile in communities around Minnesota and across the country. Its impact also lies in building deeper equity and engagement in the outdoors, and creating spaces within nature where everyone belongs.
Special thanks to our Great River Race presenting sponsors Nature Valley, Thomson Reuters, Travelers, and Winnebago Industries, and to all of our sponsors and partners for their support and commitment to our mission.