Rafa lives on.
Rafael Gallo, the former conservationist, rafting advocate and owner of Costa Rican outfitter Rios Tropicales who passed away from pancreatic cancer in January, now has conservation organization Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) named after him.
In August, RAFA and the World River Centre, International Whitewater Hall of Fame (IWHOF) and International Rafting Federation announced a campaign to further Gallo’s work and passion, kicking off with a GoFundMe campaign. The program will culminate at the ceremony to welcome 2021 awardees to the International Whitewater Hall of Fame Sept. 30 at The Paddle Sports Show in Lyon, France.
“Rafael was a staunch supporter of all opportunities to leverage the worldwide network of whitewater rafting outfitters and competitors,” says World River Centre president Risa Shimoda. “As we continue to celebrate new honorees, we’re in the early stage of developing a worldwide, open-source archive of all things whitewater that may include digitized images, competition results, stories of expeditions, and boat designs.”
Funds for RAFA will go toward a reforestation campaign to plant 1,000 trees in Gallo’s name, a program to engage Pacuare rafting and tourism companies to commit to sustainable operations and water quality and biodiversity monitoring. The organization also has plans in the works for projects with the raptor migration and studying/growing the Great Green Macaw population that is returning to the Pacuare, thanks to Gallo’s plantation of mountain almond trees.
“The newly-established Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) was created by Rafael to ensure that his beloved Pacuare River would be protected and preserved for all time,” said Shannon Farley, who co-leads the organization with Roberto Gallo, Rafael’s son.
The IRF is glad to help his legacy as well. “We’re forever grateful to Rafa for his foresight as a co-founder of the IRF,” said IRF’s Sean Clarke. “He hosted, promoted and competed in countless international rafting events.”
To donate, visit GoFundMe link.