For the 51st anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act Senator Ron Wyden has asked for help protecting more of Oregon's waterways. What a great time for the state's lesser-know waterways to gain protection!
After all, Oregon boasts 2,173 miles of iconic rivers in the Wild and Scenic program already—the Rogue, Illinois, Owyhee, Deschutes, Clackamas, Snake, John Day, and McKenzie being a few of the better-known. Some 250 of those miles were protected earlier this year.
Wild and Scenic River Protections
In 1968 Congress saw a need to protect and preserve rivers. These rivers had outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition. The creation of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System helps protect and manage our rivers and streams on federal public lands.
“Now is your chance, once again, to speak up for your favorite rivers and highlight the outstanding values that make each river worthy of protection.”Senator Ron Wyden
Gaining Wild and Scenic protection requires a waterway to be free flowing while containing one or more Outstandingly Remarkable Value (ORVs). Check out Section 1(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to learn more. These ORVs are the driving force that help manage these sections of free flowing rivers.
Oregon's Current Wild and Scenic Protections
With 68 Wild and Scenic designations Oregon holds the title for "Most River Designations." However, it is second to Alaska in number of "Most Designated Miles." This push for new Wild and Scenic protections could give Oregon both titles!
Oregon is currently home to many protected resources such as fisheries, recreation, and botanical resources. There are whitewater rafting and kayaking through out the state. Not to mention hundreds of miles of hiking and backpacking trails. Many people may not even be aware of rare and endemic plant species found through out small pockets of Oregon's wild lands.
Rivers I Would Like to See Protected
Many of my favorite rivers, like the Rogue and Owyhee River, already have Wild and Scenic protection. However, feeding these wild rivers are their beautiful and unique tributaries which would benefit from additional protection. Without a doubt, Baldface Creek, Rough and Ready Creek, Josephine/Canyon Creeks, Silver Creek, and Indigo Creek are all worthy Wild and Scenic Rivers in their own right. They are all deserving of the highest level of protection.
One of my favorite places to explore is Southwest Oregon’s Kalmiopsis Wilderness as well as the adjoining Kalmiopsis Roadless Areas, with the Kalmiopsis being home to the National Wild and Scenic Illinois, Chetco, and North Fork Smith Rivers. A few years ago, we wanted to see a river system from beginning to end. Our journey took us from the start Rough and Ready Creek, down the Illinois, and Rogue Rivers. Ending the trip at the Rogue and Pacific Ocean confluence in Gold Beach.
How to Submit a River For Consideration
Senator Wyden would like to hear from you! Here's how you can nominate your favorite river:
- Make sure it's not already protected as a National Wild and Scenic River (check our list)
- Confirm the section of river is free-flowing and has at least one Outstandingly Remarkable Value
- Submit your suggestions to email@example.com
What is your favorite Oregon river? Please let me know your favorite in the comment section below!
Originally Published: | Updated on
Rough and Ready Creek is a tributary of the upper Illinois River. I fell in love with it after my initial visit in 2011 and subsequently returned three more times to paddle this uniquely special creek. My most recent expedition with NWRC guides Nate Wilson and Ryan Saevitz involved carrying our gear for a day and a half to paddle it’s remote upper reaches. The most challenging part of running this upper section is being there when the conditions are right. You need to go in...
As an Oregon river rafting outfitter, I would like to thank Senator Wyden for his ongoing support of public lands. In Oregon, direct consumer spending on outdoor recreation contributes $12.8 billion per year to our state's economy and supports 141,200 jobs. Nationally, outdoor recreation contributes $646 billion to the U.S. economy. It's important to us to safeguard Oregon's outdoor playgrounds as our public lands and parks form the bedrock of our industry. They not only inspire us as well as visitors to Oregon, but they also...