Endangered Aysén: Rios to Rivers and Los Escualos team up for conservation and fun on the Baker River

Fun’s a strong force for conservation. As we’ve seen for ourselves, adventures in wild landscapes engage us profoundly in the future of these places. Conservacion Patagonica believes that everyone should have access to such transformative experiences—that’s a key reason why we create public-access national parks. Long-term environmental protection depends not just on protecting lands today, but inspiring new conservationists for tomorrow.

That’s why we love “Los Escualos” of Cochrane , the youth kayak club that has taught dozens of local kids the fundamentals of kayaking—and good environmental stewardship—while rolling down the clear waters of the Baker. Founder Roberto Haro is a master teacher who brings his love of paddling to children of all ages, most of whom otherwise would barely learn to swim, let alone paddle. He’s worked with CP to run trips down the Baker River, and we’re working with him to introduce the club’s youth to the conservation work going on in the future Patagonia National Park. Watching his students run challenging, technical whitewater—and then hearing them argue for the river’s protection—is an inspiring experience.

This summer saw the creation of a new group, Rios to Rivers, which is partnering with the Cochrane Kayak Club to run an exchange program between the Baker River and the Colorado River for youth interested in kayaking and environmental activism, with a focus on protecting the beautiful Rio Baker. Rios to Rivers seeks to use the excitement of river running as an inspiration for learning and service in support of river conservation. They are aiming to run the first exchange trip down the Grand Canyon in 2013.

Rios to Rivers executive director Weston Boyles is thrilled to be working with Los Escualos for the upcoming exchange program. He described the program with us, and shared his enthusiasm for aspects both educational and fun:

It is inspiring to see the work that Roberto Haro Contreas, founder of Club Náutico Escualo, has done to teach over 800 kids to kayak, on their backyard river, the endangered Río Baker. Through kayaking, these young Chileans have developed a respect and love for the Río Baker. Chile, unlike many parts of the United States, still has many pristine and undeveloped natural resources. The exchange program will give the Chilean students an understanding of what the Baker & Pascua Rivers could look like if dammed, by allowing them the opportunity to see, in person, the magnitude and environmental impacts of Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams. The trip will also provide the participants the opportunity to boat the Grand Canyon and be inspired by its beauty and successful protection. Through interaction with guides, scientists, and peers, the participants will gain the knowledge and tools to become better stewards, activists, guides and spokespersons for the rivers of Aysén, Chile and the Western U.S.

On September 19th, Rios to Rivers is hosting a benefit in Berkeley, CA to support the exchange program, and to discuss next steps for protecting the wild landscapes of the Aysén region. For those of you in the Bay Area, we would love to see you there! Basic details follow, and you can find full information on the Rios to Rivers website.

ENDANGERED AYSÉN

THE DAVID BROWER CENTER
6:00PM WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2012
2150 ALLSTON WAY • BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA

– With –

Author KENNETH BROWER

Energy Expert RANDY UDALL

Author and Environmental Activist JERRY MANDER

Educator and U.S.-Chilean Environmental Activist DANIEL GONZALEZ

Founder of Project RAFT (Russian & Americans For Teamwork) JIB ELLISON

International Rivers, Patagonia Campaign Coordinator BERKLEE LOWREY-EVANS

Writer SUSAN MUNROE

Artist CHRISTOPHER HASSIG

Filmmaker WESTON BOYLES

Photo credits: Claudia Altamirano & Weston Boyles

One thought on “Endangered Aysén: Rios to Rivers and Los Escualos team up for conservation and fun on the Baker River

  1. Sunday February 10th, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

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