This is a story of WILDRiver Belá: the last uncontrolled river in Slovakia.

It is beginning of May. The roaring river Belá, fed by melting snow, is changing the emerald water of the mountain lakes to white foam. Hundreds of rivulets of crystal-clear water are gradually melting in the Tatra Wilderness to create one of the last wild rivers of Central Europe.

With the water from the mountains, from rain and storms, the lakes and melting snow, is reaching the river, it swells and smashes everything that is in its way. This is the power of the WILDRiver Belá. It grabs the trees and abrades the rocks, cuts the riverbanks, redeposits gravel and sand, and creates a new channels and watercourses.

After the flood the Belá riverbed changed. Where there used to be forest is now a river. Where there used to be a river, only piles of broken branches, uprooted trees, piles of stones and sand remain. Water seemingly destroys, but at the same time creates and supports many forms of life. Insects quickly settle in the new riverbed. Predatory trouts hide under the driftwood trees. And the otters hunt fish hidden under the stones. Deers look for a vegetation along the river and come to drink during the warm days. Big animals, like bears, wolves and even lynx are also coming to search for fresh food.

The WILDRiver Belá is cold, predatory and can be dangerous. More importantly, she is also rich, generous and free. Nowadays, it remains unbound and reminding us how WILDRivers should look. It also reminds us that we took this freedom already from the majority of rivers around us. Finally it inspire us to restore other rivers back to their free-flowing state.

The living river – 2017

Arolla Film, Slovakia produced a new film on the WILDRiver Belá. This company was founded in 2009, and focused on Wilderness and WILDRivers popularisation with the aim of contributing the protection of the Tichá and Kôprová Valleys in the Tatra Mountains via the film The Keeper of wilderness. Encouraged by the success of their first project, they decided to continue and today several films, like The Wolf Mountains, and books provide a excellent proof to the presence of Wilderness in Central Europe. The company’s mission is to convey their enthusiasm for Wilderness and WILDRivers to the general public via authentic images and to contribute to the protection of Wilderness and WILDRivers. The WILDRiver Belá film, with English titles, can be order here.

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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  1. Pingback: WILDRiver Belá – Nature-Watching in Europe

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