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Wild and Scenic Rivers

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 three Wild and Scenic Rivers in New Mexico managed by the BLM.

Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River
Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River
Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River
Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River


Red River Wild and Scenic River
Red River Wild and Scenic River


National Conservation Lands


National Conservation Lands in New Mexico

The NLCS: A Geography of Hope (video)

National Conservation Areas

National Scenic and Historic Trails

National Monuments

Wild and Scenic Rivers

Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas (WSA)

Map of National Conservation Lands in New Mexico

Implementing the National 
15-Year Strategy in New Mexico

National Conservation Lands Online Resources (maps, brochures, etc.)

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