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Wilderness Inquiry, based at Mississippi River and National Recreation Area in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hitched their up Canoemobile and rolled into Michigan City, Indiana just east of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The program launched over 1,000 local students out onto the water in 24-foot, reproduction voyager canoes. Wilderness Inquiry came to Northwest Indiana through a partnership with the NPS at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Urban Waters Federal Partnership, LaPorte County Soil and Water Conservation District, Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, Trail Creek Watershed Committee, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Michigan City Parks, and the Michigan City Port Authority.
The Michigan City students, ranging from middle school to high school, got the opportunity to learn about Lake Michigan’s fisheries and what they can do to help improve water quality. They also learned about the fur trade during the time of the Voyageurs, spent some time on land in a kayak, and worked in teams of ten to paddle the 350 pound, hand-made cedar canoes up Trail Creek and out onto Lake Michigan.