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New Film Celebrates 50 Years of Wild and Scenic Rivers

Posted: 10/02/2018
by Thomas O'Keefe

Pacific Rivers, American Rivers and American Whitewater release Run Wild, Run Free to celebrate anniversary and inspire protection for more rivers.
The film will be available online October 2 for three days.  Watch it here:
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, filmmaker Shane Anderson and Pacific Rivers, American Rivers and American Whitewater released the new film Run Wild, Run Free. The film tells the story of the origins of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the bi-partisan spirit that ushered the bill into law, and the courageous people that stood up and demanded protection for the remaining free-flowing and wild rivers.  
“Wild rivers and places are becoming rarer and rarer and many are still under threat from dams, mining, unfettered logging and climate change. Making this film inspired me to protect more rivers and to help those trying to do the same,” said creator and filmmaker Shane Anderson.
On October 2, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the landmark Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which created a national system to classify and protect free- flowing rivers based on their outstanding values and unique characteristics. Inspired by Frank and John Craighead, famed wildlife biologists that were concerned about new dams proposed for the Flathead and Snake rivers, the law was a direct response to the nationwide destruction of rivers from dams, mining and pollution.  Initially, eight rivers were protected under the law.  Today 12,754 miles of 209 rivers in 40 states and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico are protected under the Act. This is less than one-quarter of one percent of the nation’s rivers. By comparison, more than 75,000 large dams have been built across the country impacting fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, aesthetic and cultural values on 600,000 miles of rivers.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protects free flowing rivers and their special features, including fish and wildlife habitat, archeological, cultural and aesthetic values and recreation.  It safeguards clean water and prevents new dams and other activities like mining that would harm a river’s unique character.  
“This law sought to create a balance in how we manage and use our rivers.  It recognizes the environmental, economic and social benefits of allowing a river to remain clean, wild and free-flowing. With less than one-percent of the nation’s rivers protected, we still have much more to do,” said David Moryc of American Rivers. 
The film also highlights the many current campaigns across the country to designate more rivers under the Act, including those in Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine and California.  
“Our goal is to protect another 5,000 miles of rivers across the country,” said Thomas O’Keefe of American Whitewater.  As President Johnson said, “an unspoiled river is a very rare thing in this Nation today.  Working with our partners, we aim to ensure that wild rivers still exist for future generations.”
• Greg Haller, Executive Director, Pacific Rivers. (208) 790-4105;
• Shane Anderson, Director of Storytelling, Pacific Rivers. (360) 588-3954
• Amy Kober, National Communications Director, American Rivers. (503) 708-1145;
• Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director, American Whitewater. (425) 417-9012;
If you miss the short 3-day online release, you can view the trailer here as we take the film on tour:
And don't forget to Take Action to protect more Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Contact us to arrange a screening.
For more information, please see: 
Thomas O'Keefe
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: 425-417-9012