October 02, 2019

Wyden Announces Statewide Effort for Wild and Scenic Rivers

On anniversary of Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, Senator asks fellow Oregonians to nominate new rivers and streams for protection

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today announced he is taking nominations from Oregonians through Jan. 20, 2020 for rivers in the state that deserve addition to the national Wild and Scenic Rivers list.

“Whether you are a whitewater rafter, an angler or simply an Oregonian who believes strongly in protecting the river or stream that provides safe drinking water to your community, I want to hear from you,” Wyden wrote in an open letter to Oregonians seeking river nominations for new wild-and-scenic river legislation he plans to introduce . “Now is your chance, once again, to speak up for your favorite rivers and highlight the outstanding values that make each river worthy of protection.”

Submissions can be sent through Jan. 20, 2020 to rivers@wyden.senate.gov.

With today marking the 51st anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, Wyden noted the proposed new rivers that would be part of his upcoming Wild and Scenic Rivers legislation builds on legislation included in what Congress passed in February that added more than 250 miles of Wild and Scenic rivers in Oregon.

Wyden said he is proud Oregon now has 2,173 miles designated in the Wild and Scenic Rivers system, but that the total remains a small fraction of Oregon’s 110,994 miles of rivers and streams.

He said Outdoor Recreation Industry statistics show that recreation supports 172,000 jobs in Oregon and generates $16.4 billion in economic activity statewide. 

Here’s a sampling of what Oregonians are saying about Wyden’s call for wild-and-scenic river nominations:

Clatsop County Commissioner Kathleen Sullivan:

"Oregon's rivers are critical to the health of our communities and our way of life. I applaud Senator Wyden's efforts to protect our rivers for future generations."

Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson:

"I wholeheartedly support Senator Wyden's effort to consider more Wild and Scenic River designations for Oregon. This will be a boon to our outdoor recreation economy as well as to the health of salmon and steelhead runs and clean drinking water." 

Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla

“I grew up where the Siletz River meets the Pacific Ocean, and I farm the Willamette River’s floodplain. Salmon are in my blood. Water is our farm’s lifeblood. I am grateful that Oregon’s Senator Wyden is working to protect more rivers, so that our community can have salmon, have water, have life

State Rep. Pam Marsh

"Wild and Scenic Rivers are the heart and soul of southern Oregon's recreation economy. Not only do they give our communities clean water, they bring people from all over the world that spend money that ripples throughout our economy. Thank you to Senator Wyden for stepping up to protect a legacy of clean water and a strong recreation economy.”

Ninkasi Brewing Company co-founders Nikos Ridge and Jamie Floyd

“Protected water sources are a critical ingredient for fine craft beer, and they help drive the recreation industry in our state. Ninkasi Brewing Company is grateful for Senator Wyden’s leadership around safeguarding Oregon’s iconic rivers, and it is clear why he has been dubbed the Wild and Scenic Senator.”

Chad Brown , U.S. Navy Veteran; Founder and President, Soul River Inc.

“Senator Wyden’s leadership to champion and protect Oregon’s rivers is an affirmative action! A warrior mission for veterans and our next generation to have the opportunity to benefit from what nature provides our souls.  Thank you Senator Wyden for your strength to protect Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rivers for us all.”

Patrick Kruse, Founder and R&D Director, Ruffwear

“Ruffwear is based in Bend, Oregon, because of its access to wild places. Many of our employees and customers spend time kayaking, rafting, and fishing, and we consider Oregon’s rivers as part of who we are. The Deschutes River flows right through Bend, a natural icon of our town’s culture and integral to its economy. We applaud Senator Wyden’s effort to add Wild and Scenic Rivers to our great state, and appreciate his thoughtful nomination process to get there.” 

Zach Collier, Owner of NW Rafting Co:

“I appreciate Senator Wyden’s leadership and relentless dedication to protecting the rivers of Oregon. The Wild and Scenic River protections he has championed are critical for my outfitting business and Oregon’s recreation economy.”

Amy Stuart, Crook County, retired Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist:

"As a retired fisheries biologist of 31 years, I know that protecting rivers is key to maintaining healthy fish populations. I'm encouraged to see Senator Wyden working to better protect Oregon's rivers and fish."

Chris Daughters, owner of the the Caddis Fly Angling Shop, Eugene:

“As the owner of the Caddis Fly Angling Shop in Eugene, my family’s livelihood depends on Oregon’s rivers and the fish that live in them.  Salmon, trout, and steelhead all need cold, clean water to thrive, and protection from dams, development, and mining is crucial if we hope to preserve the outstanding fishing opportunities we have in this state.  Senator Wyden’s call for public nominations for new Wild and Scenic Rivers is a gift to both current and future generations of Oregonians and will help ensure that our state remains a destination for anglers, hunters, hikers, and boaters for many years to come.”

Erik Fernandez, Oregon Wild, Bend

“Oregon Wild members across the state applaud Senator Wyden’s effort to consider protection of additional Wild and Scenic Rivers. It’s good news for clean drinking water, fish and wildlife, and recreation.”

Dave Lacey, Owner of South Coast Tours

“South Coast Tours and its guides support the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and all the conservation minded visitors that those designations bring to the south coast of Oregon.  We value our wild rivers so much that we call the southern Oregon coast ‘The Wild Rivers Coast’ where there are more Wild and Scenic Rivers concentrated than anywhere else in the lower 48. Thank you Senator Wyden - we support further designations and rely on those wild river experiences to make us competitive in the tourism industry.” 

Michael LaLonde, President & CEO Deschutes Brewery 

“We take pride in our namesake, the Deschutes River, and continue to do what we can to respect and honor it. Protected, free flowing rivers in Oregon sustain our business and fulfill our employees. We applaud Senator Wyden’s effort to add more iconic and protected Wild and Scenic River designations to our home state.”

A copy of the letter is available here.

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