I have today signed into law H.R. 193, the "Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Wild and Scenic River Act." The Act will designate portions of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers in Massachusetts as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. I am pleased that the Congress has moved quickly to pass this legislation, which has bipartisan support.
This Act recognizes 29 free-flowing miles of these three rivers for their outstanding ecology, history, scenery, recreation values, and place in American literature. Located about 25 miles west of Boston, these rivers are remarkably undeveloped and provide recreational opportunities in a natural setting to several million people living in the Greater Boston metropolitan area. Ten of the river miles lie within the boundary of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, which was established to protect the outstanding waterfowl habitat associated with extensive riparian wetlands. Historic sites of national importance, including many in the Minute Man National Historical Park, are located near the rivers in the Town of Concord. Among these is Old North Bridge, site of the Revolution's "shot heard round the world." The rivers are featured prominently in the works of 19th century authors Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau, and have been the subject of ornithological studies since early days of field observation techniques.
Important to the designation of these rivers and their long-term protection is the strong local support and commitment to management and preservation as expressed by the communities and property owners along the river segments. Each of the eight towns along the river segments held town meetings regarding the designation of these river segments. Votes at these meetings in support of designation and endorsement of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord River Conservation Plan were unanimous among the eight towns. The Conservation Plan relies on local and private initiatives to protect the river segments through local zoning and land use controls.
I am pleased to add these 29 miles of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. I commend the elected officials and people of Massachusetts who worked so diligently on the river study, building local support for the wild and scenic river designation and the passage of this legislation. I want to particularly commend the efforts of Representative Marty Meehan, the principal sponsor of H.R. 193, whose leadership led to the enactment of this important legislation. I also want to recognize Senator Kennedy who championed this bill in the Senate.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
The White House, April 9, 1999.