How do you save a place you love? For longtime NRS ambassador LJ Groth, step one is helping others learn to love it too. Knowing that his own passion for rivers comes not only from paddling, but also from the river community and culture, LJ has made it his personal mission to grow the river family on the dam-threatened Rio Trancura in Puesco, Curarrehue, Chile.
Working with native Chilean river activists, and with support from NRS, LJ helped found PuescoFest in 2014. Part kayak race, part music festival and part environmental rally, PuescoFest brings together thousands of people to dance, sing, paddle and celebrate free-flowing rivers. The 2016 event was the most successful so far with beautiful weather, big crowds and lots of kayakers enjoying the river.
Here’s a gallery of PuescoFest photos for the global river family to enjoy.
All aboard the PuescoFest Express. PuescoFest is 17 km from the nearest town of Curarrehue, and the PuescoBus provides direct access to the festival for locals and visitors for each of the four days.
Empowering women celebrating the power of Mother Earth.
Isidro Perdigues (ARG) gets a little too close to Jah (gate) through the crux of the Tres Troncos Super Slalom.
A little family time between laps on Tres Troncos. PuescoFest is fun for all ages.
The “Re-connection Zone” offers a multitude of activities and therapies. Sound therapies elevate the communal vibe.
How can we make the world a better place? During the festival, Alex led an “eco-building” workshop, teaching natural construction techniques with mud, hay and recycled materials.
Inspired goods made in the heart of the Puesco valley.
As we say each year, more kayakers equal more defenders of the rivers of the world.
With so much kayaking and dancing, eating is another popular activity here in Puesco. The family-run community kitchen is the place to find the best locally-made treats.
Editor’s Note: All photography by Matias Veras. Captions by LJ Groth.