Monday, July 02, 2012

Saving Guatemala's Wild Rivers

Last Friday, my husband and I saw a beautiful, moving, and adventuresome film at the Colorado Mountain College auditorium in Breckenridge. Titled Rios Guatemala, it chronicles an expedition down some beautiful and exciting whitewater rivers in Guatemala. It also shows the brave diplomacy that had to come into play when angry Mayan villagers detained paddlers they mistook for hydroelectric engineers. The expedition had to convince the Mayans that they had the same goals--to preserve and protect the rivers.

The film was made to bring attention to the danger threatening these Guatemalan rivers, due to proposed dam and mine development, and to the need for developing a sustaining ecotourism industry in the area. Ecotourism would offer an alternative to exploitation of these wild and pristine rivers and provide a source of income to the indigenous Mayan people. The film is being shown in the United States to attract attention and funding to a brand new foundation, the Rios Guatemala Foundation.

After viewing the film, I was ready to go to Guatemala! What a beautiful country, and what an amazing trip it would be to paddle down those roaring rivers. To see previews of the film on YouTube, go HERE and HERE.

To find out more about the Rios Guatemala Foundation and its mission to provide for the enjoyment, preservation and restoration of wild rivers in Guatemala, go HERE. You can see and hear the director, Guatamalan native Max Baldetty, talk about their vision at the website. You can read a mouth-watering description of their planned "Highlands to the Sea" fundraising expeditions on the Rios Lanquin and Cahabon, named by Paddler Magazine as one of the twelve best jungle river trips in the world. And you can gather a group of whitewater paddling friends and contact the foundation to schedule your own trip of a lifetime. You can feel good about it, too, because twenty percent of the trip sales go directly to the RIOS Guatemala Foundation and the preservation and restoration of river ecosystems in Guatemala.

3 comments:

Tea said...

Thank you for the links. You wrote a great article, not unusual.

Sheila Webster Boneham said...

Ditto. Thanks, Beth.

Beth Groundwater said...

Thanks, Tea and Sheila! As you can tell, river conservation is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.