In 2018, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Wild and Scenic River System. In the wake of the impressive anniversary successes, however, one might ask, “So, now what?” Luckily, the rivers community asked that question some time ago.
The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance was an enthusiastic contributor to the 50th anniversary, celebrating this event at our 2018 Annual Meeting & Dinner which featured nationally recognized Wild & Scenic author and photographer Tim Palmer. As with conservation innovations of the past, a group of river advocates and concerned citizens united to ensure that the Wild and Scenic anniversary wasn’t simply a one-time party. And so, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition was born at River Rally 2018 from the power of the unprecedented national-level cooperation undertaken during the anniversary.
We are proud to be a part of the newly developed Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition. As a member, we will be supporting advocacy efforts to increase funding and recognition for Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers and work collectively with our group to expand the capacity of the Coalition to engage and strengthen fellow member organizations.
That day in April at River Rally, Mass Rivers was among those organizations large and small that made a pact to craft and execute a collective vision for cooperative river advocacy. In October 2018 at the River Management Symposium in Vancouver, Washington, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition unveiled itself with the following goals:
Capacity: Build greater capacity for coalition member organizations to be more effective advocating for Wild and Scenic River protections.
Advocacy: Protect and defend designated and potential Wild and Scenic Rivers and the river professionals who steward them.
Communications: Improve communications among coalition member organizations and with the public about the value of Wild and Scenic Rivers.
At this time, 29 organizations have signed on to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition. Although ambitious goals and success metrics will demand sustained annual progress in future years, modest year-one benchmarks include expanding the Coalition and forming working teams around specific tasks. With funds remaining from the 50th anniversary, the Coalition has hired its first part-time coordinator, Lisa Ronald, who led anniversary celebration efforts in 2017 and 2018. Through these and other steps, the Coalition will ensure a Wild and Scenic future for our rivers.
Stay tuned for future updates about the progress of this collective body.