Visit the NorthWest Canoe Company (NWC) during a volunteer work time and you will hear the rhythmic sound of sanding and scraping punctuated by bursts of conversation and laughing. Volunteers with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area are building three voyager style canoes for use in the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures programs. Working in partnership with the NorthWest Canoe Company, National Park Service volunteers assist in setting up building forms, cutting and fitting cedar strips to the hull and sanding, sanding and more sanding! Volunteers might also be found helping prepare materials for lamination, building canoe seat frames and webbing the seats. Volunteers participate during regularly scheduled time blocks of two-to-four hours.
What will happen to the canoes volunteers build? NWC specializes in building the 24-foot North Canoes used in the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) program. The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures is an outdoor canoe program focused on getting Twin Cities youth on the Mississippi River. Each UWCA trip provides students an opportunity to experience a different, special section of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Through paddling and exploring the Mississippi River, the UWCA program teaches awareness and stewardship of local and global resources to students. The UWCA is a partner program between Wilderness Inquiry, the Mississippi River Fund and the National Park Service.
To learn more about the canoe building program and/or volunteer opportunities at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, contact our volunteer coordinator.