JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Across the nation, river enthusiasts, communities and government agencies are celebrating wild rivers with the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act on October 2, 2018.
Congress passed this landmark legislation on Oct. 2, 1968, to preserve selected rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Of the approximately 3.6 million miles of streams in the US, less than one quarter of one percent—or about 12,734 miles—are protected by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. This includes the Snake River headwaters.
The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act safeguards the free-flowing character of rivers by precluding them from being dammed, impounded, diverted, straightened or rip-rapped, while allowing for the public to enjoy them. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries, and promotes public participation to develop goals for protecting streams.
The permanently protected Snake River headwaters are free-flowing ensuring some of the purest waters and healthiest native cutthroat trout strongholds in the lower 48 states remains intact for present and future generations.
The Snake River and its tributaries—all 414 miles—flows through much of Jackson Hole’s spectacular country providing endless recreational value to visitors and residents. In addition, the headwaters provides crucial habitat for an incredible array of wildlife species.
Like our wilderness areas and many other public lands, free-flowing rivers embody independence and wildness. A river that determines its own trajectory is truly self-willed, a foundational element that not only defines America, but our Jackson Hole landscape. Snake River Fund encourages the public to celebrate the Snake River this October 2nd and commemorate the Wild & Scenic Act’s 50th Anniversary, and while enjoying the river to also consider cleaning up our waterway.
About Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
On October 2, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a landmark law to protect outstanding, free-flowing rivers nationwide. It created a system of permanently protected rivers with outstanding scenic, recreational, fish and wildlife, historic and cultural values. Like America’s national parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was the first of its kind in the world.