National Wild and Scenic Rivers System

By the 1950’s, decades of damming, development, and diversion had taken their toll on our country’s rivers. During the 1960’s, the country began to recognize the damage we were inflicting. Recognition finally led to action by Congress to preserve the beauty and free-flowing nature of some of our most precious waterways.

On October 2, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (P.L. 90-542, 16 U.S.C. 1271), which established a process for building a legacy of protected rivers. After careful consideration, rivers continue to be added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System; Congress and the people determine which of our remaining free-flowing rivers will be protected. The Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife each manage various rivers within the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.