Forum to focus on Housatonic as possibly 'wild and scenic'
The Housatonic River Commission (HRC) will soon host a public meeting to discuss National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Housatonic River from the Boardman Bridge in northern New Milford to the Massachusetts border.
The meeting will be Tuesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in Room 133 at Housatonic Valley Regional High School along Route 7 in Falls Village.
Liz Lacy, a National Park Service representative of the Westfield and Farmington Wild and Scenic Rivers, will talk about these two local rivers.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was passed by Congress in 1968 to protect and recognize natural rivers like the Housatonic and its surrounding area. Wild and Scenic rivers possess scenic, recreational, geologic, historical and wildlife resources worthy of protection.
During the last two years, HRC and other partners have been pursuing Wild and Scenic designation for the Housatonic through the state approval process, not through Congress.
The benefits to the river would be the same as a Congressional designation except no money would be appropriated for the management of the river.
National designation would increase awareness of the unique natural, cultural, recreational and scenic resources of the upper Housatonic River in Connecticut.
The National Park Service (NPS) helps state and local governments, citizens and conservation organizations to safeguard the character of designated rivers, while also recognizing potential for appropriate use and development.
NPS would review and have input on proposed development or construction project requiring a federal permit.
No new permits or regulations are associated with Wild and Scenic rivers and the local land-use boards and commissions continue to govern, subject to their own existing laws and ordinances.
HRC was created by the towns of New Milford, Kent, Canaan, Cornwall, North Canaan, Salisbury and Sharon in 1978 to advise the seven-town region on issues significantly impacting the river's environmental quality.