What is a scenic easement and what is its purpose?

Section 16(c) of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act defines a scenic easement as follows:

“Scenic easement” means the right to control the use of land (including the air space above such land) within the authorized boundaries of a component of the wild and scenic river system, for the purpose of protecting the natural qualities of a designated wild, scenic, or recreational river area, but such control shall not affect, without the owner’s consent, any regular use exercised prior to the acquisition of the easement.

While the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act uses the term “scenic easement,” this definition makes it clear that such less-than-fee acquisition can be used to help protect other wild and scenic river values, including other outstandingly remarkable values, water quality and riparian areas.

Interagency Wild & Scenic Rivers Council