The Vjosa is a rare bird on a continent where most rivers have been dammed. It is fast, unimpeded by pollution and flows for 170 miles from Albania to the Adriatic Sea. They call it Europe’s ‘last wild river’.
The Albanian government pledged to keep it that manner this week. On Monday, it committed to protecting the Vjosa and its tributaries by creating Europe’s first wild river national park. River Watch and other campaign groups have long called for such a designation.
This will help to protect the river and its tributaries, which many feared would be affected by development. The region has previously seen the possibility of dams.
“Albania’s Vjosa is nature’s unrelenting force, the only survivor of the wild rivers of our continent,” said Albanian prime minister Edi Rama. “Under the protective cloak of the national park, Vjosa will stay intact for Albania, for Europe, for the planet we want for our children’s children.”
Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company, has offered to help create the national park.
Image: Nicolas Jehly