| Projects, Vjosa - Aoos

Three-day Mobilization-River Trekking, “No dams on the Aoos/Vjosa”.

The Three-Day Mobilization – River Trekking “No dams in the Aoos/Vjosa Transboundary National Park Aoos/Vjosa” was completed.

On Sunday 16/9/2018 in the afternoon with the meeting of the participants at the Bridge of Konitsa, the mobilization organized by Pindos Environmental in cooperation with the citizens’ movement Protect Aoos, in the framework of the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” was completed. This was preceded by three days of information activities and screenings to inform participants and citizens of riparian communities about the existing threats and the need to promote a comprehensive solution that will ensure the protection of the river along its entire length. At the same time, through the mountaineering routes and River Trekking, the participants came into contact, many for the first time, with the unique ecosystem of Aoos.

More specifically, on the first day, the participants were divided into two groups and started the hike to Vovousa from two very important points in the history of the mobilizations for the protection of the river. The first group started from the artificial lake of Aoos Springs, where they were able to see with their own eyes the criminal retention of all the water in the lake and its diversion: practically not a drop of water from the springs ends up in the river, as all the relevant studies predict.

The second group started from the core of Valia Calda, in Arkoudorema, where in the past the construction of a diversion project was planned, with irrefutable witness the concrete signs that stand incongruously in this landscape of unique beauty.

The hikers met at the Papa’s Pit. The construction of a diversion dam is foreseen at this point. Fortunately, due to the protests of the Protect Aoos citizens’ movement, the plans have, for the time being, been frozen. The hikers of the first day ended up in Vovousa where an information event was held in the afternoon, in which representatives of Pindos Environmental, EcoAlbania and Protect Aoos intervened. The first day ended with the screening of the film “Blue Heart”.

On the second day, 15/9/2018, the morning meeting was held at the bridge of Vovousa. As on the previous day, the participants expressed their opposition to the construction of dams and the promotion of a sustainable solution for the protection of the river through their presence and the hanging of banners. Then began the hike to Distrato. From Distrato, everyone was transferred to Pades where, after a short briefing by Pindos Perivallontiki, the film “Blue Heart” was shown.

Sunday 16/9/2018 was River Trekking Day. After sharing the equipment and giving the necessary instructions (we thank Trekking Hellas Ioannina for the flawless organization of the event) the participants started from the location Trochala. After 6 hours of demanding but also beautiful route that combined hiking, climbing and swimming, the River Trekking team ended up in Konitsa where they met the second group who, after having visited the Paleoseli Bridge, had gone to Konitsa in order to make the also beautiful route Gefyri – Stomio Monastery. All together, after the necessary tick imposed by the exhausting (or not so exhausting) routes, they climbed the bridge of Konitsa and expressed their anxiety about the threats facing the river but also their determination to strengthen struggles and promote solutions that will stop any danger to this unique ecosystem.

For our part, as Pindos Perivallontiki, apart from our satisfaction for the successful completion of the three-day mobilization, we cannot but thank those who supported us in this effort: the Mountaineering Club of Ioannina, Trace your Eco from Thessaloniki and the Protect Aoos citizens’ movement, who apart from their presence contributed to the organization and communication promotion of the mobilization. We also thank Patagonia for granting us the rights to screen the film “Blue Heart” and EcoAlbania for being present and providing detailed information about the situation of the river on the other side of the border. And above all, we thank all those who participated, even going many kilometers (the participants were from all over Greece), and proved that those who exploit the ecosystems of the region for their own benefit do not play without an opponent!

No Dams on Aoos – Fight for the Protection of the river along its entire length

Pindos Environmental

September, 2018

Bridge Palaioselli.
Bridge Konitsa.
Valia Calda core.