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Patagonia joins campaign to create Europe’s first wild river national park

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Patagonia, the worldwide apparel brand, has joined the campaign to create Europe’s first-ever wild river national park, protecting it forever.

The Vjosa, Europe’s largest wild river outside of Russia, has no artificial obstructions along its entire length 300k of rivers and streams that run through Albania, but it has been under attack from proposals to build up to 30 dams along the waterway.

Ahead of the upcoming Albanian parliamentary elections citizens, activists and conservationists are demanding political support for the protection of the river and its tributaries.

As part of this action Patagonia has launched a documentary film, Vjosa Forever, highlighting the issue.

For more than a decade campaigners have fought against what has been described as a ‘tsunami’ of planned hydropower projects in the Balkans. In September last year, Albanian politicians publicly announced the establishment of a Vjosa wild river national park, which would protect the entire network of tributaries.

However, since then, citizens and activists have become increasingly alarmed that, behind closed doors, compromises are being made and that the river is in imminent danger.

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia Works, said: ” Grassroots activisim supported by legal action, have worked to get this historic decision on the table. Now is the time for the Albanian politicians to step up. They will be doing something that has never been done before and protecting this last, pristine river system forever.”

Pictures: Andrew Burr.

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