Celebrating 50 Years — Wild & Scenic Rivers System

Commemorating the Birth of River Protection


Wild and Scenic Rivers capture the essence of rivers that surge, ramble, gush, wander, and weave.

From the remote rivers of Alaska, Idaho and Oregon to rivers threading through the rural countryside of New Hampshire, Ohio and Massachusetts, they offer the grand experiences that impress the indifferent and inspire the choir. They are the life-blood of the American story.

That story began in the 1960s when outdoor enthusiasts and visionary congressional leaders demanded the creation of a protected system of free-flowing rivers to balance America’s policy of rampant dam building. The passage of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 created the National Wild and Scenic River System, which today protects more than 12,000 miles of rivers in 40 states and Puerto Rico for recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, scenery, and cultural heritage.

In 2018, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of our Wild and Scenic River System by recognizing that everyone plays a role in stewarding free-flowing rivers and safeguarding future water quality.

Inspiring Community Building

Plans are underway to inspire activism around local protected and non-protected rivers in communities across America through:

Resources: an online event toolkit to help communities plan awareness, education, stewardship, and advocacy events.

Grassroots Leadership: individuals, local chapters, and organizational members of national umbrella watgroup; water trails and watershed organizations; public lands stewardship and advocacy organizations, particularly those with local chapters such as Sierra Club and Conservation Corps; outfitter and guide companies that are members of the America Outdoors Association; outdoor industry companies and their stores.

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.