thumbnail Wild scene on the Merced River
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Wild scene on the Merced River © Robb Hirsch/Tandem Stills + MotionJoin Our GIFs Group
This stretch of the Merced River has been officially designated "wild and scenic" by the federal government. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was signed October 2, 1968, by President Lyndon B. Johnson to preserve rivers with "outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations." It covers 13,416 miles of streams and protects parts of such natural treasures as the Allagash, Salmon, Snake, Trinity, and Missouri, which is the longest river in the US.