Eligible and Suitable
Within National Park Service boundaries, there are a number of rivers that are eligible and/or suitable for wild and scenic river designation. The original Wild and Scenic Rivers Act included eight river designations and provided a method for continuing to grow the Wild and Scenic Rivers system through studies of eligibility and suitability.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides two ways rivers can be studied to identify potential additions:
Section 5(a) directs agencies to study specific rivers as authorized by Congress
Section 5(d)(1) directs land managing agencies, like the National Park Service, to initiate wild and scenic river studies as part of their typical planning processes
Understanding Eligibility and Suitability in the National Park Service:
To be eligible for designation, a river must be free-flowing and possess one or more outstandingly remarkable values. Outstandingly remarkable values are river-dependent natural, cultural, or recreational resources that are unique, rare, or exemplary at a regional or national scale. The eligibility analysis consists of an examination of the river’s hydrology, including any man-made alterations, and an inventory of its natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
The final step in the river assessment process for wild and scenic designation is the determination of suitability. This step provides the basis for:
determining which rivers should be recommended for addition to the National System and
an agency’s recommendation to Congress.
Last updated: September 13, 2017