Last year’s legacy is so nice that we cannot refuse to make a new edition of Balkan Rivers Tour. This time we will make two big actions for everyone to join in; paddle, cycle, walk and party. In between we will explore the Dinaric Alps from Greece to Montenegro with our BRT crew, trying to find most stunning valleys where one can can ski tour, kayak and fly fish in one day – so that we can take you there next year!
Detailed program is to be found on the link just below the cover photo on our webpage and on our social media, but to get the taste here is how it will look like this year:
SOČA SOURCE-TO-SEA / group action
We will paddle this symbol of Wild River that supports sustainable tourism to show what means pristine river and what a completely devastated one. Unfortunately Soča looses it’s pristine alpine river character at Most na Soči, where first in line of 5 big dams stands, creating big reservoir that stops the flow, changes the color of water from stunning emerald to muddy greyish green and kills the rapids. By paddling almost whole 138 kilometers of Soča’s flow we will experience the changes in the river and truly see how river functions on it’s way from mountains to the sea. It won’t be just about kayaking though – we are inviting all hikers and cyclists to join us and walk the Soča trail in first 2 days and cycle the whole length of Soča river from Slovenia to Italy, stopping at our evening campsites. After days paddling we will organize nice evening gatherings with presentations, round table, talks and parties. So a package where everyone can find something!
DINARIC ALPS EXPEDITION / BRT crew only
This leg of the Tour will see the Balkan Rivers Tour team only board a ferry close to where the Soča source-to-sea action finished and will travel to Greece. Once there we will head up to southern most part of Dinaric Alps – the Pindus Mountains of Greece to explore the hidden valleys for ski touring, kayaking and fly fishing opportunities. Slowly moving north we will cover the mountains of Greece, Albania and Montenegro with ambition to find kayaking first descents over the course of almost 3 weeks. Our expedition aim is to expose the world to the huge outdoor sports potential of this region and present it to outdoor media. Outdoor sports-based sustainable tourism is a solid alternative to aggressive development of the region and in order for this to become reality we simply need to bring these unexplored regions of Europe to the attention of the outdoor community. The vast mountains packed with snow, crystal clear rivers with endemic trout species and intricate rapids, lush forests and never ending trails, make up an area worth exploring through multiple sports. If there is a part of World, which the outdoor community can help protect with presence and funds, then this is the Balkan Peninsula! With experience we gain there we will make for a good guides in the region next year.
MORAČA SOURCE-TO-SEA / group action
This seven-day long action will be the highlight of Balkan Rivers Tour 2. Montenegro is currently facing unprecedented attacks on its natural resources, especially watersheds. The River Morača is amongst the most preserved European watersheds. The Morača starts its path in central mountains of Montenegro and runs completely unobstructed into southern Europe’s biggest lake – Skadar Lake. Skadar Lake is National Park in Montenegro and in recognition of its enormous value as an aquatic habitat is listed on the World List of Internationally Important Wetlands, held by Ramsar, in 1996. It is a European biodiversity hotspot for amphibians, fish, reptiles and birds. Any interference with flow of Morača would not only threaten the endemic Marble Trout (Salmo marmoratus) population in the river but also put shallow Skadar Lake water levels at risk of oscillation due to HPP releases. In addition to these threats it recently became evident that there are plans for a massive resort to be built on shores of Skadar Lake, which would put this pristine wilderness at risk. There are no direct actions against those destructive development projects yet and it is essential to start them as soon as possible, especially media-wise. That is why our actions will be focused on the whole Morača – Skadar ecosystem as we will follow the flow from the mountains all the way to the sea and expose this rich environment as a whole with the help of many supporting organizations. We will invite kayakers to join us and paddle 180 kilometers from source of Morača to Skadar Lake, across the lake and then paddle on the lake’s run-out river – the Bojana river to the Adriatic Sea. We will make No Dams events each evening along Morača River and support the Save Skadar Lake initiative when we will all paddle the lake. The action will end on April 30th at the Bojana River estuary where the Wild Party for Wild Rivers will be held on beach of Adriatic sea and continue with a daytime gathering on May 1st when the Tour will officially end.
We hope to see the big crowd from last year come together again and prove we can do the right thing and have fun at the same time.
The old, the young, married, single, kayakers, cyclists, hikers, fishermen, nature lovers, dancers, party lovers and everybody else – see you soon!
Your Balkan Rivers Tour crew