TRAIL CREEK — The La Porte County Soil and Water Conservation District along with members of the Trail Creek Watershed Partnership will host their first canoe race at Hansen Park 9:30 a.m Sept. 30 as a part of the sixth annual Trail Creek Week.

The race will be led by the trained staff of Wilderness Inquiry, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect people from all walks of life through nature and outdoor activities. Wilderness Inquiry will provide all of the 24 voyageur canoes and safety equipment.

"A lot of these students have never been in a boat before so it’s a good thing that they’re so big and sturdy. It really boosts the kids confidence about getting out on the water,” said Nicole Messacar, education coordinator for the La Porte County Soil and Water Conservation District.

According to Messacar, the race has been added to the Trail Creek Week Schedule to increase awareness about Trail Creek as well as raise money that will go toward amenities needed for the week's events.

In addition to the race, students will participate in various activities throughout the week that will teach them about local waterways, water quality, natural history and paddling, something Messacar said is important for everyone to know.

“We think it (the race) is important in a lot of ways for the kids and the city. People aren’t aware that you can paddle in Trail Creek and we can’t expect people to protect something they don’t know about,” she said.

Messacar added that there is a $1,000 fee for each team of eight to nine people, however, parents, students and others in the community can still be a part of the paddling, free of charge. As of now, the race has six teams registered from local businesses and organizations.

“It costs about $12,000 to $15,000 for the boats, and the Soil and Water Conservation District doesn’t have much of a budget for this,” she said.

Businesses and organizations that are currently registered in the race include the La Porte Convention and Visitors Bureau, BIS Insurance, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the La Porte County MS4 Cooperative Partnership, the Michigan City Sanitary District and the city of Michigan City. Messacar said her hope is to get more people involved with the races in the future.

“Hopefully more people, organizations and businesses come out. We want to have more people and boats out on the water,” she said.

For more information on Trail Creek Week, or to register a team for the race, call 219-326-6808.

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