Luka Krajnc approaches the 700-meter limestone face of Papignut. © Marko Prezelj

“If you climb it, they will come, and with them ecotourism dollars that could give the people of this area a much preferred alternative to the damming of their river.” Within the context of the Balkan Rivers Tour, a Patagonia climbing team explored climbing possibilities in Albania. They were awed by what they found...

What a neat project! In the documentary “The Raftmakers”, the film crew explores rivers worldwide on self-made rafts in an attempt to document how the global warming directly affects rivers, their wildlife and local populations. The aim is to reveal the conditions of some of the most fascinating waterways in the world from an extremely close point of view. Often they are polluted, but sometimes they offer beautiful examples of the cohabitation between humans and nature.

While 2700 new dams are being projected to be built in the Balkans, such mistakes are being corrected in the US - dams are being removed one by one. Watch what happens to the Elwah river system after the largest dam removal in US history! Hopefully, the renaturation of this river will serve as shining example for the removal of many more dam.

Scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany at the Vjosa. From left to right: Prof. Sajmir Beqiraj, Prof. Friedrich Schiemer, Dr. Martin Pusch, Prof. Aleko Miho, Dr. Robert Konecny, Prof. Lefter Kashta. © EuroNatur

++ Scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany demand moratorium on dam construction plans on Europe’s last wild river as well as a 3-year research program ++ Between June 8 and 10, international experts from Austria and Germany met with scientists of the University of Tirana in Albania to discuss the future of the Vjosa river. They adopted a joint position paper, which was handed over to the Albanian Ministry of the Environment.

Valbona, Albania: even though this river is located inside a national park, hydropower projects on this river are in the pipeline. A total of 113 hydropower plants are projected to be built in national parks in the Balkans. © Jan Pirnat

++ Balkan Rivers Tour against dam tsunami ended ++ Kayakers paddled 23 rivers in 6 countries ++ Photo highlights of the tour for download ++ 23 rivers in six countries, 390 river kilometers: on Friday, May 14, a very unique activity ended in the Albanian capital of Tirana – the Balkan Rivers Tour. Over 35 days, kayakers from all over Europe paddled the most beautiful and most threatened rivers in the Balkans in order to draw attention to the looming dam tsunami on the peninsula. A total of over 500 paddlers from 18 nations participated in the activity.

Motion pictures say more than 1000 words. Below are short video impressions covering the entire 36 days of the Balkan Rivers Tour. Enjoy!Residents of the Vjosa valley share our vision: they don’t want PM Edi Rama’s dams – they want their river to remain free. The video shows impressions of the last week of the Balkan Rivers Tour at the Vjosa, Albania. Camera: Rozle Bregar, Miha Avgustin, Aljaz Oblak

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