The National Wild and Scenic
Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 (Public Law 90-542; 16
U.S.C. 1271 et seq.) to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural,
cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the
enjoyment of present and future generations. The Act is notable for
safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing
the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages
river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public
participation in developing goals for river protection.
Rivers are classified as wild, scenic, or recreational.
Wild river areas — Those
rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments and generally
inaccessible except by trail, with watersheds or shorelines essentially
primitive and waters unpolluted. These represent vestiges of primitive
Scenic river areas — Those
rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments, with
shorelines or watersheds still largely primitive and shorelines largely
undeveloped, but accessible in places by roads.
Recreational river areas —
Those rivers or sections of rivers that are readily accessible by road or
railroad, that may have some development along their shorelines, and that
may have undergone some impoundment or diversion in the past.
The management of the The
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System done by Bureau of Land Management,
National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest