WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 – Vermont’s congressional delegation applauded the passage today of legislation to add portions of the Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
“Vermont’s rivers are an essential part of our state’s rural character. The wild and scenic designation highlights the unique cultural, scenic and recreational qualities of these Vermont rivers,” the delegation said in a joint statement. “The recognition also empowers communities along the rivers to protect these resources.”
The measure was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced the measure in the House. The House passed the legislation on Sept. 15 and the Senate passed the measure today. The Vermont congressional delegation began work on this designation back in 2007 at the request of local communities, when the initial legislation to authorize a study of this potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was first introduced.
Designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act will help protect the natural, cultural and recreational qualities of the Upper Missisquoi and Trout rivers, enabling continued enjoyment of the rivers by fishermen, hunters and paddlers. It will also help maintain water quality within the rivers, as well as in Lake Champlain.
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers system was established in 1968 to recognize and preserve rivers with exceptional scenic and recreational value. Forty-one states and territories now have rivers listed in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Missisquoi and Trout Rivers are Vermont’s first rivers to be added to the prestigious national river network.