NEW MILFORD, Conn. — The Housatonic River Commission announced the federal designation of the Housatonic River as a Wild & Scenic River for the 41 miles of the river from the Massachusetts border to the Boardman Bridge in New Milford.
“This federal Wild & Scenic designation of the Housatonic River will help to ensure the Commission’s ability to carry through its management plan to maintain the river’s unspoiled beauty and create solid accessibility to the many user groups who treasure the Housatonic River,” William Tingley, chairman of the Housatonic River Commission said
This 41-mile section of the Housatonic River is now a member of the National Park Service’s Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, a federally funded consortium designed to protect and enhance rivers throughout the country.
According to a press release, the commission has worked for years to accomplish this designation. They thanked residents and public officials of the seven towns represented on the Commission: Canaan (Falls Village), Cornwall, Kent, Salisbury, Sharon, New Milford, and North Canaan, and to the Housatonic Valley Association.
They also thanked state officials, specifically Senator Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, for making sure this designation was included in the recently passed Omnibus Bill in Washington. They thanked the National Park Service, Northwest Hills Council of Governments, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, local area land trusts, and other interested organizations.
“After years of community organizing and advocacy, I am thrilled to join the Housatonic River Commission in celebrating the National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Housatonic River. As the House sponsor of this legislation, I share this monumental feat with all who live along this 41-mile stretch of the river and those dedicated to protecting its beauty for generations to come. I look forward to continuing to work with the commission, local leaders, and community members on additional efforts to expand and improve access to cleaner, healthier outdoor spaces for all to enjoy,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.
The Commission will also be entitled to receive federal funds to carry out its management plan for the Housatonic River, including the need to improve and control public access to the river for recreation.
The Housatonic River Commission, along with its partners, the National Park Service, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Housatonic Valley Association, Inc, FirstLight Power Resources, and the Northwest Hills Council of Governments, will continue to work together to manage the Wild & Scenic program for the Housatonic River and the funding that comes with it.