Mad River Rafting Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

It's a beautiful, sunny day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You and your friends are rocketing your way through whitewater rapids with its many unexpected twists and turns. The scenery is spectacular, but you're a bit too preoccupied paddling and trying to stay inside the raft. You're soaked to the bone, and there's another huge wave coming your way. You're having the time of your life and loving every second of it.

If you've had the pleasure of enjoying the adventure and breathtaking natural beauty of the Snake River, you can thank the foresight of congress of half a century ago. On October 2nd, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of that important event.

50 Years of Protecting America's Rivers

1968 was a year of increasing environmental awareness and activism. The bill was a response to public concern over the human impact on riverways, as a result of pollution, diversion of water for public, agricultural, and commercial purposes, the introduction of harmful aquatic species, and poor management of the lands adjacent to rivers, leading to wildfires and erosion. With the stroke of a pen, more than 12,000 miles of waterways were put under immediate protection from these threats. 12,000 may sound like a lot, but it's less than one percent of the rivers and streams found in the United States! There are approximately 3.6 million miles of streams in the U.S.

Today the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protects 208 rivers in the United States and Puerto Rico, totaling 12,734 miles, and from one-quarter to one-half mile of land on either side of those protected waterways.

Details of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act

The Act is the leading riverway conservation authority in the U.S. The legislation outlines how a river qualifies to be a part of the national system, how such rivers are managed, and what types of development can occur within a protected area.

To be eligible to be federally designated under the Act, a river must:

  • Be in a free-flowing condition
  • Have good water quality
  • Have one or more attributes of public value, including scenic and recreational areas, points of historical and cultural significance, areas of hydrological or geological interest, and abundant populations of fish and wildlife, especially endangered species.

The Wild & Scenic River Act is managed and administered by a collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Contributing to River Conservation Through Adventure and Stories

Today, Mad River Boat Trips encourages the appreciation of America's rivers, particularly the Snake River, by providing unique whitewater rafting adventure experiences that will be shared for a lifetime. The Snake River Canyon is rich in geological history, and you may see river otters, osprey and bald eagles on your trip. A lucky few might even catch a glimpse of a mountain goat, a mule deer, an elk or even a grizzly or black bear.

Rivers quench our thirst and provide a retreat that can also dampen our level of stress. They draw us to their flow to paddle, to fish, to hike along the shores, or to simply relax at the water's edge. Our experienced guides will take you safely through the wildest waters while pointing out the unique natural and historical aspects of the area. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a paddle and take a trip with Mad River Boat Trips for an adventure you'll never forget!