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MISSION

 

To inspire the protection of rivers through river-running, hands-on education, and the support of outdoor programs. With a focus on education and cultural exchange, we aim to give students the information and tools they need to form their own conclusions and become knowledgeable spokespeople for the world's rivers and the people who depend on them.

 

CURRENT PROJECT

RÍO BAKER / GRAND CANYON EXCHANGE

WE ARE EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE SUCCESSFUL

COMPLETION OF THE INAUGURAL EXCHANGES!

 

TRIP REPORTS ABOUT THE EXCHANGES HERE:

 GRAND CANYON EXCHANGE

RÍO BAKER EXCHANGE

THE RIVERS IN THREAT

FOLLOW THEIR JOURNEY

MEET THE STUDENTS

THE EXCHANGE

A dam-building company named HidroAysén has proposed a series of five mega dams to be built in Chilean Patagonia on two of the country’s largest rivers, the Baker and the Pascua. Aysén, the region where these rivers are located, is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.

 

The impacts from these dams would forever change the essence of Chilean Patagonia.   The project would require new roads, airports, ports, landfills, large machinery, trucks and thousands of workers, transforming this remote wilderness and the small communities that depend on it into an industrialized region. The dams' construction would put in place the infrastructure for further exploitation of natural resources in Aysén. Not only would the environment be compromised, but the boom and bust nature of the project would leave the local population vulnerable to the loss of skills that have allowed the people Aysén to live successfully in Patagonia's harsh environment.

 

Enlarged map showing a section of the Río Baker as it passes by the remote town of Cochrane, Chile

Confluence of the Ríos Baker and Nef

Photo: Linde Waidhofer

Our pilot exchange program aims to bring a group of youth kayakers and students from the Chilean region of Aysén to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, where they will meet with local students and together participate in an intensive, 2 week workshop in the Grand Canyon and along the Colorado River. For the second half of the exchange, the same group of U.S. students will travel to Chilean Patagonia to visit the pristine, threatened Río Baker. The Colorado River was dammed in 1963; students will work with scientists, engineers, biologists, hydrologists and environmental experts to learn about the impacts Glen Canyon dam had on the Colorado River’s ecosystem.  The Baker River and the Pascua River could face the same fate: the loss of a river in exchange for hydroelectric power. The Rios to Rivers Exchange Program will provide the opportunity for students to study two rivers: students from Aysén will see firsthand the damaging effects of mega-dams; U.S. participants will learn what is at stake in Patagonia.

 

 

Special thank you to the Chilean Army for transporting the kayak gear for the Baker portion of the exchange. Photo Michael Gregory

For the past 14 years, Club Náutico Escualo, (Escualo = Shark) a youth kayak club in the remote Patagonian town of Cochrane, Chile has taught kids between the ages of 4 and 18 to kayak on the emerald waters of the nearby Baker River. By learning the technical skills of kayaking and running these long stretches of river the young Chilean kayakers have developed a passion and love for their rivers.  In many ways they are the best spokespersons for the threatened Baker and Pascua Rivers.  The Chilean students will join US students from Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) in the exchange.

 

More information about the kayak club and the award winning documentary produced editied & directed by Ríos to Rivers executive director Weston Boyles: www.LosEscualos.org

STEWARDS OF THE RÍO BAKER

Celebrating a beautiful day on the río Baker. Photo Katie Hyman

DOCUMENTATION OF THE EXCHANGES

Follow the students' journeys on:

 

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

The exchange program provides a beautiful canvas to create a film.  Experts will be interacting with students along the rivers’ edges. The reactions, questions and concerns of the students will give each of the pertinent topics regarding the ecosystems of the rivers a greater vibrancy than a conventional interview.  The scenic landscapes and the high action of boating the emerald waters of the Baker and the golden waters of the Grand will accentuate the need to save pristine wilderness areas for future generations.  The Rios to Rivers Team will accompany the students through both the U.S. and Chile portions of the program to film a documentary and create a series of articles about the exchange to tell the story of the issues and people involved.

       Photos: Weston Boyles

Students learning about the impacts that Glacier Outburst Floods (GLOFs) have on the río Baker's watershed with Limnologist Brian Reid.

Ríos to Rivers is uniting young kayakers from Patagonia, Chile and Colorado with kayaking expeditions in Chile on the Río Baker and in the US on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The Chilean kayakers see for the first time a mega-dam and the resultant impacts on the river. US students will experience the majesty of an undeveloped river flowing through a pristine wilderness. The group will learn about the ecological impacts of dams, explore viable renewable energy sources, and take part in cultural exchange.

 

© Ríos to Rivers 2013 | 266 Wildwood Lane, Aspen, CO 81611 | Contact@RiosToRivers.org