Kayaking the Rio Grande…With Sunken Drug Vehicles?

Text by Laura Buckley

“It’s very calm and beautiful down here, you wouldn’t know that
we were paddling on an international boundary with a reputation for lawlessness,”
says Eric Ellman in "Kayaking to a Different View of the Rio Grande" on NPR.com. Ellman, the executive director of the conservation group Los Caminos del Rio, wants people to stop thinking of the 1,200-mile Rio Grande as a “river of fear” and to think of it as, well, just another amazing river to explore. Ellman has offered kayaking trips that begin on a Class II rapid below an irrigation dam for the past two years. There's also a 33-mile canoe race planned for RioFest in October

Still, it's not quite your Salmon River experience: 30 sunken drug vehicles have been ditched by traffickers along a stretch of the river where Ellman tours, so watch where you put that paddle. According to Burnett, "Rio Grande visionaries hope that one day, there might be more kayakers than drug smugglers.”  We hope so, too.

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