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50 Years of Wild & Scenic Rivers!

WSR 50th Anniversary Banner

"So today we are initiating a new national policy which will enable more Americans to get to know more rivers...I am signing an act today which preserves sections of selected rivers that possess outstanding conservation values."

President Lyndon B. Johnson, upon signing the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act of 1968

Watch the Film Celebrating Southwest Oregon's WSRs!

Protected: A Wild and Scenic River Portrait

It's Been 50 Years!

WSR 50th LogoThe National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 with the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The Act aimed 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.

Did You Know...

  • There were eight rivers originally designated for protection under the 1968. Among the original eight was southwest Oregon's own Rogue River! The other seven rivers are the Clearwater, Eleven Point, Feather, Rio Grande, St. Croix, Salmon and Wolf Rivers.
  • The National Wild & Scenic Rivers System has only 12,734 river miles in it--a little more than one-quarter of one percent of our Nation's rivers are protected through this designation!
  • Riparian areas in the West provide habitat for more species of birds than all other western vegetation combined; 80% of neotropical migrant species (mostly songbirds) depend on riparian areas for nesting or migration.
  • Oregon has approximately 110,994 miles of river, of which 1,916.7 miles are designated as Wild & Scenic. More rivers in Oregon carry the special designation than in any other state!
  • Southwest Oregon is home to seven Wild & Scenic Rivers:
Upper Rogue: Gorge Upper Rogue River (RRSNF)
Lower Rogue: Tacoma Bar

Lower Rogue River

(RRSNF and Bureau of Land Management's Medford District)

Illinois River11 Illinois River (RRSNF)
Chetco River 2018 Chetco River (RRSNF)
Copper Salmon Wilderness Elk River (RRSNF)
North Fork Smith River North Fork Smith River (RRSNF)

River Styx

(National Park Service: Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve)

Not only are Wild & Scenic Rivers turning 50 in 2018, but so are the trails included in the National Trails System! Along with our partners, we will be celebrating this landmark event all year, and we welcome you to join us, too! We are proud partners with:

BLM Logo small National Park Service logo
Rogue Riverkeeper Logo REI black and white Logo
Army Corps of Engineers logo Oregon State Parks Logo
  Mt. Ashland Ski Area