The Minnesota State Wild & Scenic Rivers Program was established in 1973 to protect rivers which have outstanding natural, scenic, geographic, historic, cultural, and recreational values. Six rivers in Minnesota have segments which are designated as wild, scenic, or recreational under the state program:
- Mississippi River (from St. Cloud to Anoka)
- Kettle River (in Pine County)
- Rum River (in Mille Lacs, Sherburne, Isanti and Anoka counties)
- North Fork - Crow River (in Meeker County)
- Minnesota River (from Lac qui Parle dam to Franklin)
- Cannon River (from Faribault to the Mississippi River)
The St. Croix River in Minnesota and Wisconsin is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River, but is managed differently than the state designated rivers. The St. Croix is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program.
Each of the designated river segments in Minnesota has a management plan that outlines the rules and goals for that river. These rules are administered through local zoning ordinances to protect the rivers from water and visual pollution, erosion, over-development, and degradation, factors that undermine the wild, scenic, and recreational qualities for which they were designated. Dimensional standards, such as lot size, lot width, structure setbacks, and vegetative cutting restrictions differ depending on the district a parcel is located in.
Local Land Use Regulations and Administration
- Review Procedures for Adopting and Amending Wild & Scenic River Ordinances
- Variances in Shorelands, Floodplains and Other DNR-Protected Waterways
- Wild & Scenic Rivers Laws, Statutes and Rules
- Wild & Scenic River Classifications
Canoeing and Kayaking
- Dan Petrik, Land Use Specialist, 651-259-5697