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Thanks largely to Rafael “Rafa” Gallo and his whitewater adventure company, Rios Tropicales, the Pacuare River still flows free. Rafa helped stop two hydroelectric dam attempts. Over 35 years, he advocated for the river's permanent protection, fiercely protected the land from illegal logging and hunting, and planted close to 31,000 native hardwood trees in reforestation campaigns that regenerated the region's biodiversity.
In 2020, after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Rafa focused on creating a conservation initiative to protect and regenerate his beloved Pacuare River Valley.
Rafa’s close friends gave the organization the name RAFA – Rivers and Forests Alliance – representing his nickname. After his sudden passing in March 2021, Rafa’s family and friends united to honor his lifelong work and carry forward the Rivers and Forests Alliance mission. His loss is felt acutely by river and conservation communities worldwide.