With no hesitation, construction of 2.700 dams is planned at protected areas and habitats of endangered species between Slovenia and Albania, without involving local communities. With this project they are trying to raise awareness of this issue and start turning things for the better.
Project Balkan Rivers Tour is an action. It is direct answer to the unprecedented dam craze Balkan Peninsula is facing at the moment. It will join forces of those who care about these special places as only together we are strong enough to successfully resist. An idea that appeared at the bar counter when debating difficult situation in the region and the problem that not many people know about that gradually became bigger and soon crawled under the skin of those who believe in force of passion towards these last pristine Rivers in Europe. Now, after months of meetings, preparations and efforts we have it! This is opportunity for River lovers to get united, invite others to join in, help locals and show to the world how much we care for these pearls.
Under the umbrella of campaign Save the Blue Heart of Europe the project is starting on April 16th in Slovenia and ending on May 20th in Albania. It will encompass 6 countries, 18 rivers, 11 events and in 35 days connect outdoor enthusiasts, passion, science, Nature conservation organizations, outdoor brands and top rated media in a mix that will be working together in order to raise awareness and directly address decision makers with our demands for last free flowing Rivers of the continent to be preserved!
Balkan Rivers Tour is led by Rok Rozman, Slovenian former Olympic athlete in rowing (3rd place WC Poznan 2009, 4th place OG Beijing 2008,), biologist, fly fisherman, adventurer, kayaker and founder of Leeway Collective, institute for promotion and protection of aquatic ecosystems that aims to reconnect people with Nature. Spending time in wild places and advocating for Nature conservation has been a red line throughout his life. This is now reflected in his actions as pro kayaker: his goal is to put Rivers in focus and bring people to special places that make them feel pristine Nature. Today, wilderness can no longer be taken for granted and we have to fight strong in order to keep those special places intact, just the way wildlife and we like it most. With combined experience gained from different fields, Rok is now charging the project in order to stop the dam craze in the Balkans. Only united we can succeed in this fight to save the last pristine Rivers in Europe.
Jeff Johnson once said: “If you love a place, you have a duty to protect it.” For those who haven’t yet seen these places – you are kindly invited to join us on our expedition, but beware of feeling the duty afterwards. For those who know these places no more words are needed. It is time for Nature conservation to become cool. Come help us make it cool and successful at the same time!
Photos: Anže Osterman