The idea for the inaugural Balkan Rivers Tour was created as a result of Rok Rozman’s lifelong passion for the rivers of his home in southeast Europe, his anger at realising that there are plans to dam most of them, and a beer induced promise he made to do all he can to stop this destruction.
Both the idea and the decision to act happened simultaneously in late 2015. Rok organized a tour across 6 countries with the objective of informing people about the problem of dams and to contribute to the solution. It was a recipe of crazy coincidences, good friends, supportive brands and organisations in combination with determined people that made it reality just 4 months later.
Starting on Rok’s home river, Sava Bohinjka, the tour moved across rivers in Slovenia, then Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and finished with grand finale on the Vjosa River and in Tirana, Albania for a total of 23 rivers.
On each river the BRT crew visited, we teamed up with locals, paddled the river together and created an event to raise awareness, be it a round table discussion, a press conference or a creative action…and it usually finished off with a party. Traveling with the core crew of 2 kayakers and a driver were 2 videographers and a photographer, capturing moments of this extraordinary 39-day long mission which would be compiled in what later became the award-winning documentary, The Undamaged.
The Balkan Rivers Tour triggered a snow ball of action which started rolling downhill with intense speed, picking up more momentum, more media attention, new partnering organisations, inspiring the formation of small local river protection organisations and ultimately helped stop dam projects.
Balkan Rivers Tour was planned to be one-time event, but after the excitement and effectiveness of this action, it soon became evident…this would not be the last Balkan Rivers Tour.