AO Guide Joins the Fight to Save the Rio Futaleufu…

Posted October 27, 2006 by Robyn Suddeth

Me.JPGLet me introduce myself. My name is Brooke and I have been working as a guide for All-Outdoors for two years. I have bright red hair, love to laugh and am always putting on sunscreen. Now that the All-Outdoors California rafting season is over, what is there to do? Go rafting, of course.

As some of you know, All-Outdoors offers a river trip deep in the heart of Patagonia on the Futaleufu River. The Futaleufu, meaning “big river” in ancient Andean, is nestled in the Andes running from Los Alerces National Park to the Chilean coastal town of Chaiten. Surrounded by snowcapped peaks and pristine wilderness, the aquamarine waters of the Rio Futaleufu are home to what many consider the greatest whitewater on earth.

Futa.JPGLike the Middle Fork of the American, the Futaleufu is in danger of being dammed. In 1999, Endesa, an Argentine enterprise, launched a 30 billion dollar project to dam a handful of Patagonian rivers, the Rio Futaleufu among them. If this dam is built, the face of the Futaleufu Valley will change forever. Farmlands, lodges, rivers and streams will be underwater and the people, plants and animals of the Valley will loose the land they have lived on for generation. The hydroelectric power generated from this dam will be exported to Argentina and the residents of Futaleufu will never see the profits.

In an effort to fight against this dam proposal and get locals involved, Project FUTA was created by Aren and Sarah Rane as a grassroots effort promoting local involvement in the river economy. Project FUTA directs all of its efforts into teaching the locals the skills necessary to work in the river community. The Project’s goal is to create a strong local boating community and advocate involvement in the decisions surrounding their river. Since Project Futa Pic Crop.jpg2002, the Ranes have organized, instructed and funded kayaking classes in the Valley for the past four years. They have formed seminars on whitewater photography, safety boating and river etiquette. As of 2005, some of Project FUTA’s students have successfully kayaked parts of the class IV section of the Futaleufu and are working towards the class V Inferno Canyon Section. International guiding outfitters have already hired a handful of Project FUTA participants. With its increasing popularity, the project is in a great need of funding.

I was introduced to rafting and All-Outdoors two years ago down on the Futaleufu and I have fallen in love with the valley. I am going down to Chile in December and am going to help out with Project FUTA myself. I have been fundraising for the Project and think it is an incredibly valuable organization. All of the money I raise will go directly to Project FUTA and specifically to help purchase a shuttle vehicle.

The Futaleufu Valley is a wonder of our world and I urge everyone to get involved in this special place. If you would like more information about Project FUTA and would like to donate money to the project, please email me at Also check out All-Outdoors winter trips down to Chile.


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