Wild & Scenic Rivers

Wild & Scenic Rivers Eligibility Process

As part of the Plan Revision Process, Forest officials evaluated 2,500 miles of named streams on the Tonto National Forest and have identified 20 segments that are potentially eligible for the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System. These segments are ones in which the segment was free flowing and an outstandingly remarkable value was identified. Each possibly eligible segments was assigned a preliminary classification of wild, scenic, or recreational.

The National Wild & Scenic Rivers (WSR) System was created by Congress in 1968 to preserve rivers that contain outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing system, and are for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

For a river to be eligible for WSR designation, it must be free flowing, and possess one or more outstandingly remarkable values. Outstanding remarkable values include: scenery, recreation, fish, historic and cultural, geography, and other values. Further information on the process of selecting National Wild & Scenic Rivers can be found in Chapter 80 of the Land Management Handbook.

Wild & Scenic Rivers Documentation

This documentation outlines the process that Forest Service officials took to determine the eligible segments, as well as provides the basis for making the eligibility and classification determinations. Final Wild & Scenic River's documentation will be included as part of the Environmental Impact Statement for Forest Plan Revision.

Tonto National Forest Draft Wild & Scenic Rivers Eligibility Study (October 2017)

Wild & Scenic Rivers Eligibility Rationale Spreadsheet (October 2017)

W&SR Slideshow

Photo Credits: Tim Palmer

For more information on the Wild & Scenic River process visit our WSR Story Map or check out the WSR Presentation presented at the Wild & Scenic Rivers Educational Forums in June 2016.

The maps from the Wild & Scenic Rivers Educational Forums are available here.

A note about the potentially eligible segments from the 1993 Wild & Scenic Rivers Study:

When starting this process the Tonto NF thought the potentially eligible segments from 1993 had been evaluated within a region of comparison, but after digging into the study further we realized this was not the case and the study could not be utilized. Therefore, the potentially eligible segments from the 1993 study were evaluated along with all other named streams during this process. In this evaluation some of the potentially eligible segments in the 1993 study were not found to have outstandingly remarkable values in the region of comparison, or they had changed circumstances.

Information on the 1993 Potential Wild and Scenic Rivers study can be found here: 1993 Potential Wild and Scenic Recreational River Designation Report, Preliminary Analysis of Eligibility and Classification for Wild/Scenic/Recreational River Designation 1993, Public Meeting Report Summary: Potential Wild, Scenic, Recreational River Designation 1993.