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Contact: Christopher Derman, (423) 569-9778
Obed Wild & Scenic River will be celebrating its 40th anniversary on October 12. Obed WSR became a unit of the National Park System on October 12, 1976. The enabling legislation through the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act allowed Congress to preserve over 45 river miles in Morgan and Cumberland Counties (including sections of Clear Creek, Daddys Creek, the Obed River, and the Emory River).
The establishment of Obed WSR as a part of the National Park System and as a federally protected river was the result of a grassroots public effort over many years. Many concerned citizens and conservation organizations throughout Tennessee contributed their time and effort to make it a reality. Debates in the state and federal legislatures over passing the protection bills were lengthy and difficult. Nevertheless, the goal of keeping the Obed area pristine and protected remained a major focus for many Tennesseans including the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Designation of the river finally occurred in 1976. Currently, Obed is the only Wild and Scenic River in the state of Tennessee.
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was first established in 1968 by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (P.L. 90-542, 16 U.S.C. §§1271 et seq.). The act established a policy of preserving designated free-flowing rivers for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations and to complement the then-current national policy of constructing dams and other structures (such as flood control works) along many rivers.