Paddles against dams: kayakers unite to protect one of the last wild rivers in Europe | WWF

Paddles against dams: kayakers unite to protect one of the last wild rivers in Europe

Posted on
16 May 2016

Kayakers from all over Europe will protest on 18 May for the protection of the Vjosa River (Albania) and against the construction of dams. They will be joined by Albanian parliamentarians, members of the EU parliament, residents of the Vjosa valley and local and international nature conservationists. Participants at this event – some of them in boats – will send a message to Prime Minister Edi Rama from the banks of the wild river.

We invite all of you to be part of this extraordinary happening – the Flotilla event – part of the Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign at the Vjosa River in Albania.

When: 18 May, 10.00am
Where: Bar Restaurant Oda e Hasan Beut in Toç (close to Tepelena)

This event is part of the Balkan Rivers Tour – over 35 days (16 April - 20 May), kayakers from various countries are paddling the most stunning and most threatened rivers in the Balkans.

The Vjosa is one of the last big wild rivers in Europe, flowing freely and unobstructed for over 270km. The Albanian government has just granted the concession for the construction of a large hydropower project on the river to a Turkish company – contrary to the recommendation of the EU and the demands of residents and environmental organisations.
On May 20, the Balkan Rivers Tour will end with the handing over of a petition to Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana. During the tour participants collected signatures against the destruction of the Vjosa and for the designation of a Vjosa National Park. All paddlers will be present with their kayaks at the protest in Tirana.

When: 20 May, 10.30am
Where: Pyramid Square in Tirana

Find more about the events on May 18 and 20 here.

Follow the Balkan Rivers Tour online, on Facebook, on Instagram.

For more information contact:
Martin Šolar (WWF Adria),,  +385 95 2567 772
Ulrich Eichelmann (Riverwatch),, +43 676 662 1512
Gabriel Schwaderer (EuroNatur),, +49 (0) 7732-9272-0
Rok Rozman (Leeway Collective),,  +386 51 421 303

The Balkan Rivers Tour is a joint initiative by Leeway Collective, EuroNatur, Riverwatch and WWF Adria and is supported by Patagonia, the Mava Foundation and Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung.