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

April 26, 1985

To the Congress of the United States:

Balancing the development of our Nation's many natural resources with the need to preserve our national treasures is a formidable challenge. Continued economic growth depends in part upon prudent use of our natural resources. At the same time, we must protect wilderness areas and wild, free-flowing rivers for this and future generations to enjoy in their natural, undeveloped state.

To further this effort and pursuant to the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1965, I am today proposing, at the recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, four additions to the National Wilderness Preservation System and three additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. These additions total over 382,000 acres of wilderness and nearly 174 river miles.

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

(1) The Powderhorn area, in Gunnison and Hinsdale Counties, Colorado -- 43,311 acres of unique subalpine and alpine tundra, most of which is currently managed as the Powderhorn Primitive Area. This area offers exceptional opportunities for primitive and unconfined recreation.

(2) The Great Rift area in Blaine, Butte, Minidoka, and Power Counties, Idaho -- 322,450 acres of desert lava flows. This area, part of which is within the Great Rift National Natural Landmark, is an outstanding example of basaltic volcanism.

(3) The Humbug Spires area in Silver Bow County, Montana -- 8,791 acres characterized by awesome granite spires and domes. Much of this area was designated as a Primitive Area in 1982.

(4) The Scab Creek area in Sublette County, Wyoming -- 7,636 acres of highly scenic rocky bluffs interspersed with small stands of timber and small meadows. This area, in the foothills of the Wind River Range, was designated as a Primitive Area in 1975.

In addition, I am transmitting three legislative proposals to designate the following additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System:

(1) The North Fork Kern River in Tulare County, California -- 60.7 miles of the river in the Inyo National Forest and the Sequoia National Park.

(2) The Cache la Poudre River in Larimer County, Colorado -- two segments totalling 62 miles of the river in the Roosevelt National Forest and the Rocky Mountain National Park.

(3) The Manistee River in Manistee, Wexford, and Lake Counties, Michigan -- two segments totalling 51 miles of the river in the Manistee National Forest.

Pursuant to existing law, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture have also concluded that certain areas studied are not suitable for wilderness designation or for inclusion into the national rivers system.

I concur in all of these recommendations, and I am transmitting to the Congress today letters and reports from the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture regarding all of these wilderness and rivers proposals. I applaud the Congress for responding to my last wilderness and rivers transmittal in September 1982 by designating the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness in Arizona, the Paddy Creek Wilderness in Missouri, the Verde Wild and Scenic River in Arizona, and the AuSable Wild and Scenic River in Michigan. I reaffirm my support for the rest of the wilderness and river designations included in my September 1982 transmittal, and urge the Congress to act expeditiously and favorably on those designations as well as the legislative proposals I am transmitting today, so that these precious and irreplaceable resources may be protected and preserved.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

April 26, 1985.