Courier April/May Courier - Page 16

BUSINESS Arkansas Recreational River, Colorado and Salmon rivers, Missouri’s Eleven Point River, California’s Feather River, Oregon’s Rogue River, Wisconsin’s Wolf River, Minnesota’s St. Croix River and the Rio Grande River, which flows through both New Mexico and Texas. This year, our National Wild and Scenic River System joins the trails act in celebrating its 50th anniversary. Today there are 13,000 miles along 208 rivers—across 40 states and ter- ritories—with special designation that protects their wild and scenic character. The numbers sound impressive, but it is important to note that this constitutes just slightly more than one-third of one percent of all the nation’s rivers. Many more miles of waterways remain eli- gible for this special designation. These rivers named above are managed by four federal agencies: the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. River managers are charged with protecting river flow, water quality and the remarkably out- standing values associated with the 12 April/May 2018 designated rivers, including recreation, fish, wildlife, history, culture, scenery and geology. These rivers are deeply entwined with the exploration, settle- ment and history of the United States. At the same time, they are an important part of our conservation legacy for pres- ent and future generations. In honor of this anniversary year, river managers invite tour operators and travelers to #MakeYourSplash by expe- riencing one of the wild and scenic riv- ers. For those who would like to float or paddle down a river, there are numerous authorized companies that offer half-, full- and multi-day options depending on the river and its flow. “Soft” trips are suitable for a family adventure, while others offer challenging whitewater experiences, and still others provide the thrill of a jet boat ride. Many visitors seek the world-class fly-fishing opportunities wild and scenic rivers provide. Experienced anglers can seek their own special fish- ing hole along the bank, while those new to the sport can hire the services of an authorized outfitter and guide. Imagine fishing Oregon’s internation- ally renowned McKenzie River from a famous drift boat with expert help from a long-time local. Some instead seek a quiet riverside picnic, a hike or a bike ride along a river corridor trail, and oth- ers want a chance to birdwatch or do some plein air painting. How do you get started? Visit rivers. gov to learn more about the National Wild and Scenic River System and locate a river near you. Follow the links to the managing agency for specific information on features, seasons, access, visitor facili- ties and authorized commercial services. Then visit recreation.gov to plan your trip, make campground reservations and explore other opportunities avail- able in the area. You can celebrate this important anniversary while you help keep these wild and scenic rivers free- flowing forever! Bonnie Lippitt is program manager for interpretation, tourism and visitor ser- vices for the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in the Pacific Northwest region.