Support Wild and Scenic Rivers in a New Public Lands Package Today!

posted January 10, 2019
by Evan Stafford

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Despite the partial government shutdown and the tenuous situation in Washington DC right now, a group of lawmakers are making good on their promise to bring a package of public lands bills before the Senate, and to work to bring a companion package to the House. Your voice right now will go a long way towards getting these bills a vote and we make it super easy to contact your lawmakers in support of this public lands package through our easy action templated forms. A personalized touch will make sure your representatives take your comments seriously and the forms only take a moment to update with an individualized comment about your connection to a place that’s up for protection, or your general love for wild rivers and the recreation opportunities they provide. 
The Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47) includes over 600 miles of Wild and Scenic rivers and was brought before the full Senate this week. Senator Murkowski (AK) chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and outgoing committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (WA), upheld their commitment to reintroduce a bipartisan package of more than 100 public lands, natural resources, and water bills they negotiated last year with Representative Bishop (UT) and Representative Grijalva (AZ). Among the provisions in the bill:

Oregon Wildlands would designate 250 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers for the Molalla and 34 tributaries of the Rogue

Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area would provide a framework for collaborative management of the headwaters of the Snoqualmie and Yakima Rivers in Washington,

Methow Headwaters would close 340,079 acres in the Methow River watershed to new mining claims

– Wild and Scenic Designation for the 62 miles of the Lower Farmington and Salmon Brook in Connecticut would protect the popular Tariffville Gorge section of the Farmington River

Emery County Public Land Management Act would include Wild and Scenic Designation for 63 miles of the Green River (including Labyrinth Canyon) in Utah, a Recreation Area (389,731 acres), and new Wilderness (661,445 acres) for Emery County including land around the San Rafael River and Muddy Creek

– Wild and Scenic designation for 110 miles of rivers in the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed (RI/CT)

– Wild and Scenic designation for 52.8 miles of the the Nashua River and tributaries (NH/MA)

– Wild and Scenic designation for 77.2 miles of rivers as part of the California Desert Protection Act (CA)

– Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important program that has supported public access to rivers since the 1960's but was recently allowed to expire

This package of public lands bills has enjoyed incredibly broad public support, allowing committee members to feel comfortable bringing this to the floor of the Senate as one of the first actions of a new Congress. However, the package has a long way to go before it becomes law and without another strong showing of public support, it will have a hard time passing out of the Senate, the House, and ultimately being signed by the President. 
If you have time please remember to personalize your message with a comment on your experience enjoying one of the rivers above, or about how much you enjoy spending time on wild rivers general. It makes a big difference. Thank you!

Associated Projects

  • Greenway Whitewater (WA)
    The Mountains to Sound Greenway stretches over 100 miles along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington. AW is engaged in promoting stewardship and protection of the rivers in this corridor.
  • Methow River
    American Whitewater supports the conservation and stewardship of the Methow River.
  • Restoring the Rogue (OR)
    One of the great Rivers of the West, preserving the the Wild Rogue and restoring upstream reaches impacted by dams are priorities for American Whitewater.