Kokatat Sponsors "Connecting the Drops" Athabasca Expedition

Thursday, 31 May 2007
Kokatat LogoArcata CA - Connecting the Drops is a two-month canoeing, hiking, and mountaineering expedition that will depart on June 19, 2007. The team includes Don van Hout and David Lavallee who will be exploring the entire 1538 kilometer Athabasca River from the Columbia Icefields, the hydrological apex of North America, to the internationally protected Peace-Athabasca Delta, the largest inland freshwater delta in the world. They will ski to summit of Mount Snowdome and then hike and paddle the headwaters of the Athabasca River in remote Jasper National Park, across Alberta to Lake Athabasca.

The expedition celebrates this extraordinary western waterway, a symbol of Canadian identity and wilderness. While the river remains a mostly wild river, its health is severely threatened from massive industrial development leaving Albertans and Canadians questioning the conventional wisdom that the oil sands are a benefit to all. Traveling by canoe, Don and David seek to connect people with the river and inspire people to tell them their stories of concern about the Alberta Oil Sands.

Don van Hout, a local from the Town of Athabasca, is part of a growing number of citizens concerned about the environmental short sightedness and feverish oil sands development threatening the health of waterways and Canadian heritage. In 2004 Don canoed the Athabasca River for 1300 kilometers, "The Athabasca River Basin is absolutely beautiful at the top and at the bottom, but canoeing through the oil sands is a truly agonizing endeavor that will fill you with sadness" says Don. This summer he has chosen to voice his concerns and draw attention to the senseless destruction of the river that he loves.

David Lavallee began climbing and ski mountaineering over 20 years ago, and has been an avid mountain lover ever since. As a certified hiking guide with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), David created the first environmental stewardship committee for the association in its history. David sees the alarming rate with which glaciers are changing and questions whether industrial and human activity has to happen at the expense of the outdoor industry and is creating a documentary film about the expedition.

For more information and to share your concern with decision makers about the rapid pace and massive scale of the Alberta oil sands development please visit: www.ConnectingTheDrops.ca


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David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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