Richard Frank just lately posted at Authorized Planet on the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the US Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Some excerpts:

1968 was an particularly tumultuous 12 months in trendy American historical past.  The nation endured the assassinations of each Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy; then-President Lyndon Johnson introduced he wouldn’t search reelection attributable to rising public dissatisfaction with the federal government’s conduct of the Vietnam Conflict; and protests and riots consumed Chicago, Detroit, Washington, D.C. and plenty of different American cities.

So it was in stark distinction and a most welcome growth when in 1968 Congress handed, and (in October of that 12 months) a lame duck President Johnson signed into legislation the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act….  The Act represented a serious political and conservation achievement 50 years in the past.  It stays an necessary cornerstone of America’s conservation efforts a half century later.


Underneath the WSRA, rivers are categorised as wild, scenic or leisure.  Wild River Areas are these which might be freed from dams and customarily inaccessible besides by trails, with watersheds or shorelines primarily primitive and waters unpolluted.  Scenic River Areas are these freed from dams and with shorelines and watersheds nonetheless largely primitive and undeveloped, however accessible by roads.  Leisure River Areas are readily accessible by highway or rail, that will have some growth alongside their shoreline, and that will have undergone previous dams and diversions.  No matter their classification, every river within the Nationwide Wild and Scenic Rivers System is run with the purpose of defending and enhancing the values that prompted it to be designated within the first place.

The WSRA, authored by Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho), was a legislative response to the truth that in 1968, many if not most of America’s rivers have been already dammed for hydroelectric and flood management initiatives.  (By comparability to rivers designated beneath the WSRA, greater than 75,000 giant dams within the U.S. have modified over 600,000 miles of American rivers.) 

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