Celebrating 50 Years of Wild & Scenic Rivers

Across the nation, river enthusiasts, communities and government agencies are preparing to celebrate wild rivers with the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, which falls in 2018 - during the Year of the Anacostia. 

Congress passed this landmark legislation on Oct. 2, 1968, to preserve selected rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

Of the approximately 3.6 million miles of streams in the U.S., less than one quarter of one percent – 12,734 miles – are protected by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. These miles include some of the most primitive and breathtaking landscapes in North America.

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You can explore designated rivers here, and learn about upcoming events including select rivers/trail anniversary events, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic River Act, as well as ways to participate, by visiting the 50th Anniversary Toolkit.

The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act safeguards the free-flowing character of rivers by precluding them from being dammed, while allowing for the public to enjoy them. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries, and promotes public participation to develop goals for protecting streams.

 Maurice River, NJ, credit: Karla Rossini, Tributary Manumuskin Cumberland Pond, National Park Service Dragonfly Sampling Project

Maurice River, NJ, credit: Karla Rossini, Tributary Manumuskin Cumberland Pond, National Park Service Dragonfly Sampling Project

Erin Garnaas-Holmes