Video: Rio Bio Bio 1985 – 1996

Images and video clips from the legendary Rio Bio Bio in Patagonia, now lost to hydroelectric development.

Once one of the legendary whitewater classics of the world, the Rio Bio Bio in Patagonia, Chile, now lies under a water grave. Drowned by reservoirs, the Bio Bio is a stark example of how hydroelectric could strike other famed Patagonia rivers like the Baker and Futaleufu.

Bill Hester, who posted the video, explains the significance and source of the footage:

“Early photos and video of my time kayaking, rafting and leading trips on the Rio Bio Bio in Chile. Included are photos from my first trip in 1985 and video from later years until dam construction in 1995. At one time, the Bio Bio was worlds most famous expedition rafting destination. Now, most of it most famous rapids and canyons lay underneath hundreds of feet of water due to 2 dams. Photos and video includes myself, Billy “Superstar” Richards, Payson Kennedy, Chris Spelius, Mike Hipsher, Kent Ford, Eric Nies, KB Medford, Ciro Pena, Robert Dye, Tom Blue, Shane Benedict, Bob Beazley, Taz Riggs, Kelly Fischer, Bob Powell and I’m sure there are a few others featured. Big thanks to Ciro for use of his photos.

It’s sad to see a river of such significance lost.” —Bill Hester

More from C&K:

—Video: Rios to Rivers, a multi-cultural kayaking exchange

—Rio Baker Runs Free