Wilderness Inquiry

Mission Statement

Wilderness Inquiry believes that inclusive outdoor experiences have the power to transform individuals and communities. Our core value is inclusion, and we operate on a model that facilitates full participation by everyone, including people from different physical, cultural, or socio-economic backgrounds. Our programs facilitate fundamental changes in perceptions and beliefs, breaking down barriers between people. During a Wilderness Inquiry experience, participants begin to feel and realize that perceived differences, such as ability level, ethnicity, or economic status, are less significant than common humanity. Adventure is our medium, inclusion is our method, and full community integration is our mission.

Impact and Programs

Accomplishments We served 37,121 people in 2017 through more than 600 inclusive outdoor events. Wilderness Inquiry's Canoemobile program brings hands-on learning to underserved youth via the "floating classroom" of a 24-foot Voyageur canoe. From coast to coast, 32,746 individuals participated in Canoemobile in 2017. Wilderness Inquiry connected 18,722 people of color and 3,619 individuals with disabilities to inclusive outdoor adventures in locations in 2017. 96 underserved Twin Cities youth graduated from Wilderness Inquiry's Outdoor Career Academy in 2017, receiving training in outdoor job skills, 1-1 mentoring, networking opportunities, and connections to jobs and internships in the outdoors.
Current Goals Our overarching goal is to systemically change communities by using the natural world as a catalyst to connect people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. In honor of our 40th year of service, we will connect 40,000 individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to each other and the natural world through shared outdoor adventures. Specific objectives include: Serve 40,000 people through more than 500 inclusive outdoor events. Introduce 35,000 underserved youth and families to place-based learning and recreation in the outdoors through Canoemobile. Serve 4,800 individuals, including low-income families and individuals with disabilities, through inclusive multi-day experiences through the Share the Adventure program. Provide employment training and pathways for more than 200 underserved Minnesota youth as they also develop 21st century skills through the Outdoor Career Academy. Invest in universally-designed equipment and facilities, including an expansion of our fleet of 24-foot Voyageur canoes. Expand our impact by improving our headquarters and further developing our Little Sand Bay Base Camp—leading the industry in universally designed, accessible outdoor facilities and places.
Community or Constituency Served Our mission of full community integration is driven by our core value of inclusion. We actively seek participation from all demographic strata, resulting in a rich and inclusive mix of participants from all walks of life: • Approximately 80% of those served are financially disadvantaged, with the majority living at or below the poverty line • 50% of participants identify themselves as a person of color • 30% have a disability • 60% are female • 10% are seniors aged 65+ • 75% are youth under the age of 18
Geographic Area Served Wilderness Inquiry serves people no matter where they live, including approximately 50% from Minnesota and 50% from other states. Programmatically, Wilderness Inquiry offers inclusive outdoor experiences worldwide with popular destinations including the Boundary Waters, Mississippi River, Yellowstone National Park, and many others. We also own a basecamp in the Apostle Islands. Canoemobile travels across the country, typically operating on public lands managed by the National Park Service and other federal agencies, Department of Natural Resources, and regional and city parks. See trip destinations map at www.wildernessinquiry.org/destinations and Canoemobile cities at www.wildernessinquiry.org/canoemobile-schedule/.

Reports & Finances

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Major Program Expenses
Youth Engagement:
Share the Adventure:
Individuals and Families with Disabilities:
3 Year Average Expenses
Program Services
Unrestricted Net Assets
End of Year:
Beginning of Year:

Organization Last Reviewed on 07/10/2019

This date is representative of when we completed our initial Accountability Wizard® nonprofit review, and provided the organization with their results. This review is good for three years from the date provided
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808 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: 612-676-9400

General Information

Alternative Name: WI
EIN: 93-0708637
Principal Staff: Greg Lais
Number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTE): 18
Number of Volunteers: 610
Number of Clients: 37,121
Ruling Year: 1978


Board Chair: Bill Schmoker
Number of Board Members: 20
Board Meetings with Quorum: 6
Average Member Attendance: 14

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