Wild and Scenic Rivers of Arkansas

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A National Anniversary

October 2 was the 50 year anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Not well known in the world of public land management, the act, as described on Rivers.gov as:

“The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 (Public Law 90-542; 16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.) to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes. (Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968)

Arkansas Connection

Cossatot Falls – Cossatot River State Park – Natural Area

Arkansas certainly has its share of rivers designated as Wild and Scenic. In fact, Arkansas has more of these rivers than any of its surrounding states. Of the 82,366 miles of rivers in Arkansas, 210 miles fall under this designation. This is made up of 8 river sections:

  • Big Piney Creek – 45.2 miles
  • Buffalo National River – 15.8 miles
  • Cossatot River – 30.8 miles
  • Hurricane Creek – 15.5 miles
  • Little Missouri – 15.7 miles
  • Mulberry – 56.0 miles
  • North Sylamore Creek – 14.5
  • Richland Creek – 16.5

Only 10 states have more mileage of Wild and Scenic Rivers than Arkansas and we have room for more. This Fall, get out and enjoy the beautiful, free-flowing rivers of Arkansas. The video below gives some more history of the act and shows off some of the great Wild and Scenic Rivers of the United States.

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Run Wild Run Free: 50 years of Wild and Scenic Rivers : FULL FILM from Pacific Rivers on Vimeo.

For more information on Wild and Scenic Rivers, got to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System Website.

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