The state's Wild Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act protects those rivers of the state that possess outstanding scenic, ecological, recreational, historic, and scientific values. These attributes may include value derived from fish and wildlife and botanical resources, aesthetic quality, archaeological significance and other cultural and historic features.
State policy is to preserve designated rivers in a free flowing condition, protecting them from improvident development and use. This policy is intended to preserve the enjoyment and benefits derived from these rivers for present and future generations.
DEC's regulations implementing the Wild Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act affect management, protection, enhancement, and control, of land use and development on all designated river areas in New York State, excluding those on private lands within the Adirondack Park. They are subject to separate provisions pertaining only to lands within the park (9 NYCRR Part 577).
Community Designations - The Department may "designate specific areas as communities" within recreational river areas. The regulatory provision for "community" designation allows for less restrictions on land use than the "recreational" classification, and permits development on lands in and around river area hamlets, villages and towns that existed at the time of Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act inclusion. A Commissioner's Decision and Order (PDF, 1.7 Mb) issued on January 12, 2010 providing two community designations on the Peconic River in the Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County gives an example of such designations.
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