Wild and Scenic Rivers Frequently Asked Questions
The BLM manages 38 National Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSRs) including more than 2,050 river miles and over one million acres. The Bureau’s National Conservation Lands provide national level management and policy guidance for these rivers and represents the Bureau on the Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council.
Why are Wild and Scenic Rivers designated?
Congress created the National Wild and Scenic River System in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
There are three categories of rivers in the WSR System:
- Wild rivers are free of dams, generally inaccessible except by trail, and represent vestiges of primitive America.
- Scenic rivers are free of dams with shorelines or watersheds, still largely primitive, and shorelines are largely undeveloped but accessible in places by roads.
- Recreational rivers are readily accessible by road or railroad and may have been dammed in the past.
Congress further states that the river, with its immediate environments, must possess outstanding scenic, recreational, geological, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values.
What Wild and Scenic Rivers are in New Mexico?
There are two Wild and Scenic Rivers in New Mexico managed by the BLM.