Established by the U.S. Congress in 1968, the National Wild & Scenic Rivers system protects "certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish & wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values." To be considered "Wild & Scenic," a river must have at least one outstanding natural, cultural, historical, or recreational feature.
The Westfield River became Massachusetts' first National Wild & Scenic River when forty-three miles were designated on November 2nd, 1993. Today, the designation has been expanded to encompass over 78 miles of the Westfield River's three major tributaries and headwater streams.
As a state-administered Wild & Scenic River, the Westfield River is unique in that the management of the National Wild & Scenic River designation is accomplished through locally-based and state protection. Since a mix of public and private lands border the designated reaches of the Westfield River, state and federal agencies, municipal officials, landowners, business owners and other community members share responsibility for the Wild & Scenic River designation and management.
To learn more about the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System, visit www.rivers.gov