As packrafters we have a unique opportunity. We have an amazing tool that allows us to explore nature in ways most can only dream of. We know first hand what a pristine river tastes like, what the fleeting shadow of a river trout looks like as it darts for cover as we silently float downstream. The silhouettes of mountains forever burned into our memories. And who could forget the crackle of the camp fire under a blanket of stars as we cook our evening meal beside the river. Sometimes we take these things for granted, we accept them as a normal part of our life. Yet we are truly privileged.
Anyone who lives by a river, knows it value. Just look at the major cities and towns around the world that exist because they are located on the banks of a river.
The Balkan river systems are under threat. Over 2800 hydropower schemes are planned for the area. Many within national parks and areas of natural and ecological importance. Many that would not only destroy the endangered species that call these rivers home but would also threaten the local communities that rely on the river as apart of their daily lives.
“Save the Blue Heart of Europe” is a global campaign to help protect the last remaining free flowing rivers in Europe.
“Balkan River Defence” are grassroots on the ground activists that help empower and support the many local communites in their fight to protect wild rivers that are threatened by hydropower schemes within the Balkans.
The 2018 Annual Packrafting Meetup at the Soca raised and donated €463, and the 2019 Packrafting Meetup raised and donated €2687, and the 2020 Packrafting Meet Up raised and donated more than €3000 to help protect the rivers of the Balkans. The meet up has and continues to make a difference in protecting the rivers we all love. If you have any ideas on how to further raise awareness, funds or help protect these rivers please get in touch.