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Connecting paddlers to save Chile's rivers

El río Trancura es reconocido como un destino turístico para el rafting, el kayak o la pesca. Sin embargo, muchas veces es ignorado el valor ecológico de su cuenca hidrográfica, la cual consiste en una vasta red de lagos y esteros que nacen de los glaciares de 5 volcanes: Nevados de Sollipulli, Lanín, Quinquilil, Quetrupillán y Villarrica. El volcán Lanín es el más grande de la región, y es en sus faldas donde los orígenes del Trancura comienzan a fluir a través de los ríos Quillelhue, Momulluco y Puesco, cercanos al pueblo de Curarrehue. Estos tres ríos, ubicados dentro del parque Nacional Villarrica, están amenazados por un megaproyecto llamado “Puesco-Momolluco”. Debido a una enorme presión social y política, este proyecto fue rechazado por el servicio de evaluación ambiental (SEA) en Marzo de 2015, pero dicha decisión está siendo apelada por el desarrollador del proyecto, Besalco. La confluencia entre el río Puesco y Momolluco marca el inicio oficial del río Trancura, y es aquí donde “Tres Troncos” comienza, la clásica sección clase V de “Puesco Alto”. Tan solo unos kilómetros más abajo el Trancura recibe las aguas del río Pichi Trankurra. También conocido como Anihuarraqui, este río es la fuente principal de agua para la comunidad mapuche del Lof Trankurra. Tras 6 años de lucha y las familias locales divididas por las prácticas corruptas de los desarrolladores del proyecto hidroeléctrico, la comunidad recientemente perdió su río a mano de los intereses de empresarios y políticos coludidos en una agenda energética destinada a enriquecer a unos pocos. El Lof Trankurra apelará a esta decisión.
 
The Maichin

Sollipulli sends its waters to the south through the Maichin river valley, which joins the Trancura just downstream of the town of Curarrehue.  At this moment, at least two of the Maichin's navigable tributaries, Rio Resbaloso and the Rio Remeco are under threat of "micro hydro" projects which are not subject to federal environmental regulations, but could seriously change both the social fabric and the ecosystems of their valleys.

The Panqui
Moving further down the Trancura valley, the Panqui river also enters from the right, marking the political boundry between the "Comunas" of Pucon and Curarrehue.  A diversion style hydro project that will de-water the stunning Class IV-V canyon stretch of the Panqui has been approved to be constructed, despite local efforts and appeals to the nation's Supreme Court.

The Liucura
The Trancura's largest tributary, the rio Liucura is most well known at the confluence in the popular Class III section of the Lower Trancura at "La Junta," or for its many powerful tributaries like the Nevado, Carhuello, Desague and Coilaco.  Near its birth just outside of the Huerquehue National Park, the Liucura is fed by the Llancalil river.  The local people from the upper valley continue to fight prospectors looking to de-water the Llancalil and Liucura rivers.

Information courtesy of: Lj Groth/ ESCAPE

 

Trancura Watershed

Puesco

The Trancura river is most famous as a rafting, kayaking or fishing destination for visiting tourists, but its watershed is a vast network of lakes and streams which are born from the glaciers of 5 massive volcanoes: Nevados de Sollipulli, Lanin, Quinquilil, Quetrupillan and Villarrica.  The Lanin volcano is the region's largest, and it is here in Curarrehue where the headwaters of the Trancura begin to flow through the Quillelhue, Momulluco and Puesco rivers.  All three are located within the Villarrica National Park, but they are threatened by a mega project called "Puesco-Momolluco."  Thanks to overwhelming social and political pressure, this project was rejected by the Chile's environmental evaluation service (SEA) in March of 2015, but their decision is currently being appealed by the project's developers Besalco.  The confluence of the Puesco and Momolluco marks the official beginning of the Rio Trancura, and it is here where "Tres Troncos" begins for the Class V kayak run down the "Upper Puesco."  Just a short distance downstream the Pichi Trankurra river enters on the right.  Also known as Anihuarraqui, this river is the main water source for the Lof Trankurra Mapuche community, and after a 6 year battle and the tragic impact on local families divided by corrupt practices of the project's developers, the community recently lost their river to the interests of the private hydro developers and the pro-energy agenda of the federal government.  The Lof Trankurra will appeal this decision.