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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Towns Vote This Fall on York River Designation

Posted by | September 20, 2018 | Filed under: Culture

Three years in the making, the York River Watershed Stewardship Plan is now available.

Download the Plan

Kayakers paddle the York River. Photo © Jerry Monkman
Kayakers paddle the York River. Photo © Jerry Monkman

The plan was developed by the York River Study Committee, which includes members from the four towns in the river's watershed: York, Eliot, Kittery, and South Berwick. The committee solicited community input through numerous meetings and gatherings over the past 30 months.

After evaluating and documenting the qualities of the river, the study committee is recommending to town governing boards and citizens that the Partnership Wild and Scenic Designation be pursued. The plan concludes that the watershed holds critical resources that are important to the area’s economy, character, and quality of life.

(The Wells Reserve received, on behalf of the study committee, National Park Service and foundation grants that paid for the plan. The reserve director serves on the committee as treasurer and non-voting member.)

Towns to Vote

Citizens and town boards will vote this fall whether to accept the plan and to endorse a National Park Service "Partnership Wild and Scenic River" designation.

Town select boards in York and Eliot have placed warrant items on the November ballot to allow voters to decide whether to endorse the designation. An expression of community support—a majority of "yes" votes on the warrant articles—is needed for the U.S. Congress to consider a Partnership River designation into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Kittery and South Berwick intend to endorse designation through town council resolutions.

  • Town of York: Warrant Article 2 in November
  • Town of Eliot: Warrant Article 10 in November
  • Town of Kittery: Town Council Resolution in December
  • Town of South Berwick: Town Council Resolution in December
50th anniversary logo for the Wild & Scenic Rivers program

50 Years Wild & Scenic

As the York River Study Commission concludes its 3-year study, the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on October 2.

Wild and Scenic Rivers… are the life-blood of the American story and the arteries of our nation.

In the 1960s… outdoor enthusiasts and visionary congressional leaders demanded the creation of a protected system of free-flowing rivers to balance America’s policy of rampant dam building. The passage of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 created the National Wild and Scenic River System, which today protects more than 12,000 miles of rivers in 40 states and Puerto Rico for recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, scenery, water quality, and cultural heritage.

The United States contains about 3.6 million miles of rivers and streams, only 12,734 miles (0.35%) of which are protected by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

Maine contains about 31,752 miles of rivers and streams. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway, designated July 19, 1970, is currently the only Wild & Scenic River in the state, covering 92½ river miles and associated lakes and streams.

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