Whitewater race to raise anti-dam funds, awareness 

Thompson River race set for Oct. 14 in Lytton

By Andrew Mitchell

Free Flowing Rivers, a non-profit group created to save rivers from hydroelectric dams, is hosting an inaugural whitewater river race in Lytton on Saturday, Oct. 14.

You need a team of eight to participate, and corporate, private and student teams will be on hand to race down the Thompson River.

The weekend will also include two nights, dinner on Friday, and three meals on Saturday, as well as live music and an all-night party.

The cost is $900 for an eight person corporate or private team, or $750 for an eighth person student team, which includes two nights of camping, food, raft rental and the evening’s entertainment.

Money raised from the event will be used for research and activism in terms of rivers currently at risk of dams.

According to Rodolfo Rada, Founder of Free Flowing Rivers, the money will help to fund the group’s transition to a non-profit society, as well as to help support a one-year road trip that will circle North and South America to document how dams have impacted local populations, as well as the rivers that are slated for new dam construction. That project already has some financial backing, but will require more assistance.

So far 14 of 23 boats have already been booked, largely thanks to the support of Mark Angelo, the founder of B.C. Rivers Day.

It also helps that it’s a great deal for rafting and camping, with a maximum price of $113 per person for corporate participants.

“It’s an awesome deal,” said Rada. “Hyak is giving us all the gear, the guides that are working are volunteers, Strong’s Supermarket in Vancouver is helping us out, along with Boston Pizza. It all helps us to be able to charge less and get more numbers out.”

Each boat will be named for a river that is slated for dam development to help create awareness of the cause.

If the event goes well, Rada would like to see more rafting races held around the province to create more awareness of rivers and call attention to the impacts of hydro electric development.

For more on the Free Flowing Rivers campaign or Whitewater River Race, visit www.freeflowingrivers.com.

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