Tara River Canyon
Tara River Canyon (Montenegrin / Bosnian: Кањон ријеке Таре / Kanjon rijeke Tare, pronounced [kǎɲɔːn târɛː]), also known as the Tara River Gorge, is a canyon in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, through which runs the Tara River. Measuring from near Bistrica in Montenegro to Hum in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is 82 kilometers (51 miles) long, with the last 36 kilometers forming the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The canyon at its deepest is around 1,300 meters (4,300 feet) deep. These parameters make the Tara River Canyon one of the deepest river canyons in Europe.
The Tara River becomes the Drina at the point of confluence with the Piva near Hum, and is some hundred and fifty kilometers long at that point. In its passage through the Durmitor National Park, the river has a mean fall of 3.6 meters/kilometer, with a host of cascades, making it whitewater between category 2 and 4.
All along its flow, the Tara gets large quantities of water from numerous abundant wellsprings and few very short tributaries. The most important tributaries on the left bank of the Tara are the Ljutica and the Sušica, and the most important tributaries on the right bank are the Vaskovaćka Rijeka and the Draga. The most important wellspring is the Bajlovića Sige, a source located on the right bank of the Tara river, giving to the Tara a few hundred liters per second, where the water pouring from the Bučevica Cave falls into the Tara more than thirty metres high, and more than a hundred and fifty meters wide. Very special are the Tara cascades. The roar from the cascades is heard on the very peaks of the canyon. There are more than forty cascades, the most famous being Đavolje Lazi, Sokolovina, Bijeli Kamen, Gornji Tepački Buk, Donji Tepački Buk, etc. Because of the quality of its water, and because of its unique ecological system, Tara in 1977 was put into the program “Čovjek i biosfera” (Human and Biosphere) and inscribed into the ecological biosphere reservations of the World, being thus protected under an internationally issued convention.
There are rocky and pebbly terraces, sandy beaches, high cliffs, and more than 80 large caves along the canyon. The river Tara itself, together with its parent extension river, the Drina river, is Europe's main habitat and spawning ground for huchen (Hucho hucho)
Planned hydroelectric dam controversyEdit
The governments of Montenegro and Republika Srpska entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina had plans to flood the Tara river and considerable part of its gorge, with the construction of at least one and possibly more hydroelectric dams on the Drina and possibly the Tara itself. A plans to construct dams in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Drina river, has never been shelved completely. One at Buk Bijela village, some 15 kilometers downstream of border with Montenegro and the confluence of the Tara with the Piva river, the Buk Bijela Hydro Power Plant, although apparently abandoned in April 2005, after several successful protests by environmental activists in favor of preserving the both rivers and the canyon, is now being seriously reconsidered, as recently as 2018, and concessions is already given to a company "HE Buk Bijela" created in Foča in 2018, for this purpose. Also, although much older, signed in September 2006, a cooperation agreement between the Slovenian company Petrol and the Montenegrin company "Montenegro-bonus" to plan a construction of a 40-60 megawatts hydroelectric power plant, despite all efforts to protect the gorge, is still considerable environmental threat for the Drina and the Tara.
The canyon is part of the Tara River rafting route. The one-day rafting route, from Brstnovica to Sćepan Polje, is 11 mi long and it takes 2 to 3 hours. This part of the canyon is the most exciting because the river has the biggest drop in elevation in the shortest length. There are 21 out of 50 rapids in that part of the Tara. The rapids are Brstanovići, Pećine, the very dangerous Celije rapids and Vjernovički rapids. If one decides to go all the way, rafting adventure is 62 mi long. At the beginning one will see the waterfalls of Ljutica, then you will pass under the 541 feet high monumental bridge of Tara. Next thing you can see on this exciting journey is the old Roman road and the Lever Tara. "Funjički Bukovi" and "Bijele Ploče" will make you realise how calm and up to this moment nice Tara becomes a wild beauty. "Nisovo Vrelo" is the deepest part of the canyon (3608 feet high). Further is the bottom of the mountain top, "Curevac" (5413 feet), that rises above Tara as its "eternal guardian" and one of the nicest viewpoints of the Durmitor area.
In 2005 and 2009, the European Championships in Rafting were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Vrbas and Tara rivers.