Message to the Congress Proposing Additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wilderness Preservation Systems

September 13, 1982

To the Congress of the United States:

One of the greatest challenges facing our Nation is to make careful and wise use of our natural resources. At the same time, we must protect other national treasures -- wild, free-flowing rivers and wilderness areas -- for this and future generations to enjoy in their natural, undeveloped state.

To further this effort and pursuant to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 and the Wilderness Act of 1964, I am today proposing, at the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior, eight additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and three additions to the National Wilderness Preservation System. These additions total some 245 miles of rivers and over 21,000 acres of wilderness.

Briefly described, the proposed additions to the Rivers System are:

(1) The Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River, Wyoming -- 21.5 miles of the river in the Shoshone National Forest.

(2) The Elk River, Colorado -- 29 miles of the river in the Routt National Forest.

(3) The Conejos River, Colorado -- 36.8 miles of the river in the Rio Grande National Forest.

(4) The Los Pinos River, Colorado -- 54 miles of the river in the Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan National Forest.

(5) The Verde River, Arizona -- 39.5 miles of the river in the Prescott, Coconino, and Tonto National Forests.

(6) The Au Sable River, Michigan -- 23 miles of the river in the Huron Manistee National Forest.

(7) The Snake River, Wyoming -- 13 miles of the river in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

(8) The Piedra River, Colorado -- 28.4 miles of the river in the San Juan National Forest.

The comprehensive bill that I am transmitting today to add these rivers to the System will also make changes to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to enhance our ability to manage such rivers efficiently and effectively.

In addition, I am transmitting three legislative proposals to designate the following areas as additions to the Wilderness System:

(1) The Spruce Creek addition to the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, Colorado -- the 8,000-acre Spruce Creek Wilderness Study Area, to be added to this Wilderness in the White River National Forest. The area offers outstanding opportunities for solitude and backcountry recreation.

(2) The Paddy Creek area, Missouri -- 6,728 acres in the Mark Twain National Forest. This area of the Ozarks contains an unusual assortment of rock formations, including caves, crevasses, and fissures.

(3) The Aravaipa Canyon Primitive Area, Arizona -- 6,670 acres in Graham and Pinal Counties. Aravaipa Creek provides the canyon, which is bordered by high mesa-like cliffs, with lush vegetation and a variety of wildlife that is seldom seen in the surrounding Sonoran Desert.

After reviewing the suitability of three other rivers for possible designation, the Secretary of Agriculture has found them not to be suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. These include portions of the San Francisco River in Arizona, the Moyie River in Idaho, and the Salt River in Arizona. Finally, after reviewing the Elkhorn Wilderness Study Area in Montana, the Secretary of Agriculture has determined that this area is not suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

I am also transmitting to the Congress today letters and reports from the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture regarding all of these rivers and wilderness proposals. I concur in all of these recommendations, and urge the Congress to act expeditiously and favorably on the proposed legislation, so that the natural resources of these areas may be protected and preserved.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

September 13, 1982.