The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 established the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and authorizes Congress to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. The act encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection. As of 2023, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System protects 13,466 miles of 228 rivers in 41 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This represents less than one-half of one percent of the nation’s rivers.