Last evening, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2569, The Upper Missisquoi and Trout Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which will add the Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers in northern Vermont to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
The bill, authored by the Vermont Congressional Delegation, passed on a voicevote. It must now be approved by the Senate where Senators Leahy and Sanders have introduced a companion bill, S. 1252.
Designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act will protect the natural, cultural and recreational qualities of the Upper Missisquoi and Trout rivers, providing support for local efforts to increase recreational access to these rivers and enabling continued enjoyment of the rivers by fishermen, hunters and paddlers.
"The Missisquoi and Trout Rivers are remarkable natural and cultural resources. This important designation will ensure future generations of Vermonters will enjoy these natural treasures," said Welch.
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System is managed by the Department of the Interior and was established in 1968 to recognize and preserve rivers with remarkable scenic and recreational value. Today, 40 other states have rivers listed under the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers would be the first rivers in Vermont to receive this special designation.
The designation was unanimously recommended by a committee created by Congress in 2009 to evaluate the rivers' potential for this program. The towns of Berkshire, Enosburg, Enosburgh Falls, Montgomery, Richford, Troy, North Troy, and Westfield all voted at town meetings in support of wild and scenic designation for these rivers.
You can watch Rep. Welch's remarks on the House floor just prior to the bill passing here.