Grand Ambition

Chilean exchange paddlers learn advocacy lessons on the rio

In remote, southern Chile two beautiful rivers are in danger of being dammed. Five dams have been proposed on the Baker and Pascua rivers, which flow from the Patagonia icecaps to the Pacific Ocean. If they are built, one of the last great wilderness areas on earth will be destroyed. Seventy-four percent of Chileans oppose the dams, including a group of young kayakers who have grown up paddling on these rivers.

In August, 2013, Rios to Rivers, a nonprofit organization formed to empower the Baker and Pascua’s young advocates, will bring 10 young Chilean kayakers to see a large dam for the first time in their lives, take part in hands-on studies about the effects of dams with ecologists and energy experts, and paddle 290 miles of the Colorado through the Grand Canyon while learning about the history of its successful protection.  — WESTON BOYLES

CLICK HERE to read more on this progressive exchange program and Patagonia’s Los Escualos youth kayak club, and HERE to see photos from the first leg of the exchange in Chile, or watch the new footage below. Prior to the Aug. 7 Grand Canyon launch, the nonprofit hopes to raise $25,000. Click HERE to learn more about the fundraising efforts and to contribute now.

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