Wild and Scenic River Designation

In December 2022, York River and its major tributaries were designated into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, after Congress approved the river designation bill and President Biden signed it into law.

York River joined 227 other rivers in this national program that was established in 1968 to protect rivers for current and future generations.  Rivers designated into the national system are notable for their remarkable ecological, scenic, cultural, historic, geological, and recreational resources or features. Learn more about Wild and Scenic rivers on rivers.gov.

Designation into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System provides funding, resources, and technical assistance to support local river protection and preservation efforts. The local York River Stewardship Committee was formed after the river was designated and includes appointees from the four York River watershed towns: Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick and York. The Stewardship Committee coordinates implementation of the York River Watershed Stewardship Plan, in collaboration with the National Park Service, the federal agency partner for all Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers.  

View News Center Maine’s ‘207’ video feature on York River and Wild and Scenic designation.

A 14-year record of milestones and steps in the process of achieving Wild and Scenic River designation for York River is detailed in this 2008-2022 TIMELINE.