Aspen Group Cheers Chilean Dam Decision

Jun 12, 2014

Kayakers paddle on the Baker River in central Patagonia. The Aspen non-profit Rios to Rivers fought to keep the river from being dammed.
Kayakers paddle on the Baker River in central Patagonia. The Aspen non-profit Rios to Rivers fought to keep the river from being dammed.
Credit Weston Boyles/Rios to Rivers

This week the Chilean government canceled a controversial plan to build five hydroelectric dams on two of its southern rivers. It’s a victory for one Aspen non-profit that’s been fighting the $8 billion project for years. Aspen resident Weston Boyles started Rios to Rivers after floating the Baker and Pascua rivers in central Patagonia. He told Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen this week’s decision is a victory not only for his organization, but for many of the area’s residents.

Rios to Rivers created the video below before an exchange trip in the summer of 2013. Ten Chilean kayakers from the remote Patagonian town of Cochrane, Chile paddled the Grand Canyon to learn about how the Colorado River is impacted by dams and what was at stake for their home river.

Rios to Rivers: Young Chilean kayakers to run the Grand Canyon this August, 2013 from Weston Boyles / Rios to Rivers on Vimeo.