Bureau of Land Management National Park Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service

— Celebrating 50 Years —
Wild & Scenic Rivers System

Celebrating 50 years of National Wild and Scenic Rivers System

1968. A year of profound change. The Tet Offensive and Vietnam protests. The assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A standoff with North Korea over the capture of the USS Pueblo. Racial protests—even at the Mexico Olympics. Escalation of the Cold War; the Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia. Riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. The transition of “Flower Power” to a more somber time in the country.

But it was also a year of new hope and growth. A manned spacecraft first orbits the moon. The Paris Peace Talks. The beginning of the end to Vietnam.

And it was a year of profound progress in environmental protection. “Sustainability” enters the lexicon with the publication of The Population Bomb and The Whole Earth Catalog. “Earthrise” from Apollo 8 defines a new perspective of our world. Six new national park units. Over 800,000 acres of wilderness protected. The National Trails System Act.

Boy jumping into river

Find us on Flickr and witness the beauty of the rivers. See it now →

find us on Flickr
The foggy Delaware river

And on October 2, 1968, the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

There are approximately 3.6 million miles of streams in the United States; 1.1 million are at least five miles in length. Only 12,754 miles are protected by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act—only 0.35% of the rivers found here.

But what a wonderful 12,754 miles! Allagash. Salmon. Snake. Missouri. Concord. Fortymile. Trinity.

As the Act nears a half century of protecting some of our greatest rivers, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating its accomplishments—and in working for its future. While there is much we have to do, there is much we have done, and to the thousands of people across the country that have worked tirelessly to save their local river, it’s time to take a moment to celebrate, to congratulate each other, to look forward. To add to the 12,754 miles.

Check out our 50th Anniversary Toolkit to learn more about upcoming events, event planning and how to connect people to their river, their watershed, their heritage. If you need a copy of the 50th Anniversary Logo for your event, help yourself. And be sure to let us know about your event through our Event Map. Need a photo for event promotion? Our Flickr site is just the spot to start.


Much is being written about the 50th anniversary. If you'd like to read more about this celebration . . .

     A GRATEFUL VIEW FROM DOWNSTREAM: The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act Turns 50 – Backcountry Journal, Summer 2018

     Keeping America Beautiful – Motor Home, June 26, 2018

     Gorgeous Pictures of Wild and Scenic Rivers – National Geographic, April 24, 2018

     The Wild And Scenic Rivers Act At Fifty – National Parks Traveler, March 21, 2018


Wild & Scenic Rivers System 50 Logo
Download 50th Anniversary
Brand Package

If you need a copy of the 50th anniversary logo, click on the image to the left for a zipped file of different options. Guidelines for use are included in the file.

Press Kit

Use our online press kit for interview ideas, interview questions, stories ideas, photos and more.

NWSR on Flickr
Visit us on Flickr

Our new Flickr site has some stunning images of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System.