Wild and Scenic Rivers Anniversary Is Oct. 2

American Rivers called on Congress to renew its commitment to protect the nation's clean water and river heritage by passing bills to add more than 850 miles of rivers to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

"We have come a long way in 40 years, but we still have a long way to go. There are 3.5 million miles of rivers in our country, and less than one percent are protected," said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers.

"From the Taunton River in Massachusetts to the Snake headwaters of Wyoming, from the clear waters of Arizona's Fossil Creek to the streams of Oregon's Mount Hood and Wild Rogue, communities around the country are eager for Congress to act on these new Wild and Scenic designations," said Wodder.

On Oct. 2, 1968, President Johnson signed into the law the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, with the goal of protecting our country's wild river heritage and all the benefits wild rivers bring to our communities.

"Rivers touch our lives in so many ways. They give us drinking water and are home to fish and wildlife. They support recreation and tourism economies worth billions. They are sources of identity and community pride. They flow through our culture, in our music, art and stories. We have a responsibility to protect our rivers for future generations," said Wodder.

There are 166 Wild and Scenic rivers in our country. A Wild and Scenic designation is the highest level of protection a river can get. It blocks dams and other harmful water projects and preserves a river's free-flowing nature. The designation also protects and improves water quality, as well as the river's unique historic, cultural, scenic, ecological, and recreational values. It provides a protective buffer along the river while allowing appropriate development and use. Each river has its own unique management plan that is developed in concert with local landowners and citizens.

The biggest Wild and Scenic package ever passed was an Oregon bill in 1988, which included 1429.05 miles of rivers. Now Congress is considering the second largest Wild and Scenic package in history which would safeguard 852.8 miles of rivers in Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming and Massachusetts.

For more information, visit www.americanrivers.org/gowild.

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