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Wild and Scenic Rivers in Grand Canyon?

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA). Currently, the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management protects more than 200 rivers in 35 states and Puerto Rico. The Act reads, “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 preserved 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 Colorado River through Grand Canyon does not currently hold the designation of a Wild and Scenic River. If the Colorado through GC was a designated WSR it would provide long-term protection of the river and it’s tributaries.

Studies show that nearly 90% of Arizona’s riparian areas are in poor or degrading condition due to a century of over-grazing, urban development, ground water withdrawals and more. Grand Canyon’s rivers, streams, seeps and springs have been largely exempt from these impacts. So far. But, current plans on the rims for development of uranium and tourist attractions threaten the “pristine” quality of the water within Grand Canyon. It’s more than just protecting the water. Grand Canyon’s water ways represent an extensive and relatively intact system of aridland riparian habitat for birds, animals and plants.

If Grand Canyon were protected as a designated Wild and Scenic River, river runners could still enjoy rafting through Grand Canyon without the concern that any other dams would be built within Grand Canyon. As it is today, the concern of another dam being built is Grand Canyon is a legitimate one. One that weighs on the minds of all concerned river runner’s.

To learn more about this topic visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca for more information. Let’s keep Grand Canyon wild!!! Go boating and see the beauty of this place yourself!!

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