Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Wild and Scenic Rivers

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 pre- served 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 dam 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.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968
Public Law 90–542, §1(b), Oct. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 906; 16 USC § 1271

The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in and about Oregon as of 2018. This is a clip from this larger  map  produced by the Forest Service.

The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in and about Oregon as of 2018. This is a clip from this larger map produced by the Forest Service.

Larch Occasional Papers

I publish a series of aperiodic papers on topics of interest to me (and I hope at least some others):

Persuading Congress to Establish a Wilderness and/or Wild & Scenic River: A Checklist  (#1).

Wilderness and/or Wild & Scenic River: Overlap Provides Maximal Conservation Protection. (#7)

Articles and Such

National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in Oregon includes a table with names, classifications, length, administering agencies, ecoregions and more. Congress established the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in 1968. That legislation designated the Lower Rogue River segment as one of eight original Wild and Scenic Rivers. Congress added additional Oregon segments to the system in 1984, 1988, 1994, 1996, and 2000, and 2009. There are 58 units of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in Oregon, totaling 1,907.6 stream miles. The amount land and water protected in these designations is 594,624 acres.

Jenny Creek Proposed Wild and Scenic River is a report I did for the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council. Jenny Creek is in the Klamath River Basin in Jackson County, Oregon and Siskiyou County, California.

I once commissioned a compilation all of the eligible free-flowing stream segments in Oregon that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have found to qualify for inclusion in the National and Wild and Scenic Rivers System (Excel file). This inventory is incomplete and inconsistent, but it is what the agencies have identified. There are numerous other eligible streams. Congress has designated components of the System that the agencies either found not suitable (the agency doesn't want it to be a Wild and Scenic River), or even eligible (a free-flowing stream with at least one outstandingly remarkable value), or in some cases ever even inventoried (considered by the agency).

"Overlapping Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River Designations Provide Maximal Conservation Protection for Federal Public Lands" appeared in Environmental Law Online, a journal of the Lewis and Clark Law School.

Key to Wild and Scenic River protection is the full and proper accounting for all of the "outstandingly remarkable values" (ORVs) for which a Wild and Scenic River was established. For an analysis of ORVs found for Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon, see my memorandum on the subject.


American Rivers is the premier national conservation organization working to establish additional units of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. In Oregon, the statewide organization doing the most is Oregon Wild. There are several other regional and national conservation organizations working to designate particular free-flowing streams. is the federal interagency (Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service) website on all things on the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

There is still much that is not available on line. Now their is one less thing: USDA Forest Service. 1993. Eligibility Study: East Fork Illinois river and Its Tributaries. Siskiyou National Forest.