Wild and Scenic Rivers – Keeping them Free


Every river is unique, but a wild river has a special kind of magic.

rogue river - courtesy wikimedia commons

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Picture Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho, Oregon’s Rogue, Maine’s Allagash, the Southeast’s Chattooga. Clear rushing waters, breathtaking scenery, and wildlife make these rivers national treasures.

Protecting our nation’s last wild rivers is what we do at American Rivers. It is the reason we were founded nearly 40 years ago and fighting for Wild and Scenic rivers remains our top priority today.

What is a Wild and Scenic River?

Just as we have National Park and Wilderness designations to protect the nation’s most special lands, Wild and Scenic River designations protect our highest quality rivers. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act:, 

  • Prevents any new dams or harmful water projects
  • Protects riverside lands and wildlife migration corridors
  • Safeguards clean water
  • Prohibits activities that would diminish the river’s outstanding values
  • Requires development of a comprehensive plan to manage the river

All of this with the goal of keep the rivers running wild. And for over 40 years, it’s been one of the strongest tools available to protect outstanding, free-flowing rivers.

The Wild and Scenic Today

On March 30, 2009 American Rivers and our partners achieved a landmark victory when President Obama enacted on of the largest river protection packages in history. This law designated more than 1,100 miles of 86 new Wild and Scenic rivers, and expanded the Wild and Scenic Rivers System by more than 50 percent.

But with 3.5 million miles of rivers in our country, less than one percent enjoy Wild and Scenic protection. We still have a lot of work to do. But with your help, we will continue to fight for our Wild and Scenic rivers, ensuring we leave a wild river legacy for generations to come.

Your Wild River

Each river has a personality all its own and everyone enjoys them for diferent reasons. Have you experienced a wild river? What is your favorite?