The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was created by Congress in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Quite frankly, the environmental rarity and diversity of the Loxahatchee River is understated. While the United States is home to 3.6 million miles of river, fewer than 13,000 miles actually qualify as a “Wild and Scenic River”. In 1985, a 10-mile stretch of the Loxahatchee River became Florida’s first Wild and Scenic River, representing only .04% of Florida’s 25,949 miles of river. Currently, the Loxahatchee River is one of two rivers holding this title in Florida, and the only one that falls under all three designations- “Wild”, “Scenic”, and “Recreational”.
“Wild River Areas” are sections generally inaccessible by trail, with shorelines essentially primitive and waters unpolluted.
“Scenic River Areas” are sections with shorelines still largely primitive and shorelines undeveloped, but accessible in places by roads.
“Recreational River Areas” are sections readily accessible by road or railroad, and may have some development along their shorelines.
From the south end of Riverbend Park to Indiantown Road, the Loxahatchee River is considered recreational. Indiantown Road to Florida’s Turnpike is designated as Scenic, as well as the portion between Trapper Nelson’s Camp and Jonathan Dickinson State Park River Tours. The most primitive area of the river receiving the “wild” designation is the stretch north of Florida’s Turnpike and ending at Trapper Nelson’s Camp.
Managed by Jonathan Dickinson State Park, our scenic southern river flows through an interesting vegetative landscape that supports a diverse range of aquatic and terrestrial fish, wildlife, and an abundance of bird species.
2018 was the 50 year anniversary of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of our river, while also recognizing the potential for its appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection.