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Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and Protected Areas

In 1964, our nation's leaders formally acknowledged the immediate and lasting benefits of wild places to the human spirit and fabric of our nation. That year, Congress enacted the Wilderness Act, landmark legislation that permanently protected some of the most natural and undisturbed places in America. In 1968, the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act was passed to strike a balance between the demands for hydropower, flood control, and irrigation with the need to protect our most outstandingly remarkable rivers. This milestone legislation ensures free-flowing waterways for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. National Scenic and Historic Trails, National Historic Landmarks, Volcanic Monuments, Scenic Areas, Recreation Areas, Preserves, and Monuments are among additional designations bestowed by Congress to ensure protection of unique natural, cultural and recreational values. Collectively, Wildernesses, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails and other Congressionally Designated Areas comprise almost a quarter of all lands managed by the Forest Service and afford permanent protection to some of the most varied, ecologically significant, and valued federal lands and free flowing waters in the nation indeed the world. We owe a great deal to the wisdom and foresight of congressional delegations and dedicated citizen volunteers whose efforts have provided an enduring benefit to the American people. Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails, and other Congressionally designated areas information is found on the following web pages:

[photo] West Elks Wilderness, Colorado
[photo] Feather Wild and Scenic River, California
Wild and Scenic Rivers
[photo] Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Argentine Pass, Colorado
National Scenic and Historic Trails
[photo] Mount St Helens National Monument, Washington
Other Congressionally Designated Areas, such as National Volcanic Monuments and National Recreation Areas.

US Forest Service
Last modified October 15, 2016

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