PRESS RELEASE: Kayakers to Attempt First Descent of the Karnali River

Four world class kayakers are running the Kayaks from the Chinese border to Dhungeshwor  in west Nepal for the first time. Nepal River Conservation Trust has brought four world class kayakers to run the Karnali River with an aim to advocate for sacred river corridor. Surjan Tamang of Nepal, Aniol Serrasolses and Mikel Sarasola of Spain, and Todd Wells of the USA flew their kayaks to Simikot and porter to Hilsa to begin their journey on the Karnali River on April 18, 2018. Their first challenge will be the never-before-run Devils Gorge above Simikot. The kayak crew is the initial reconnaissance team for the first Karnali River Scientific Expedition which will take place in September 2018.  The kayakers will film the challenges of their descent, the outstanding and remarkable environmental features and document the people and cultures they encounter along the Karnali River Corridor.

This is all part of the Karnali Sacred River Corridor Project which will bring an interdisciplinary team of experts—a geo-physical scientist; an aquatic ecologist; an anthropologist, and a social, recreation and ecotourism specialist—to assess and describe the ecological and social values of the only remaining free-flowing main stem river system in Nepal. This project will highlight key ecological drivers; collect information about aquatic resources, stream system functions, and riverine health; and describe the socio-environmental values that characterize the Karnali River basin from the headwaters near the Tibetan Plateau to the Ganges River confluence. The goal of this project is to provide the scientific foundation to develop a culturally informed, locally supported integrated water resource management framework on the main stem of the Karnali River. This activity will create a framework that can be used by multiple kinds of future users—a working plan that is highly flexible, scalable, and that can help a variety of local and national advocates to protect aquatic resources into the future. Further, the team will collect data to help support the introduction of National Wild and Scenic River legislation to Nepal.

We are very thankful to our supporters Waterkeeper Alliance (USA), American Whitewater Magazine (USA), Fly Fishers International (USA), Turkish Airlines (International Airlines Partner); Yeti Airlines/Tara Air (Domestic Airlines Partner), Tiger Tops (Hospitality Partner), Ultimate Descents Nepal and Nature Himalaya for logistic support;  and Karnali River Waterkeeper and Waterkeepers Nepal for their generous support.


Megh Ale,


Nepal River Conservation Trust