Wild & Scenic Rivers
Laws, Statutes, and Rules

Laws and Statutes

  • National Wild & Scenic Rivers Act: Enacted by Congress in 1968 to create a National Wild & Scenic River System to preserve some of the country's most precious and outstandingly remarkable rivers in a natural, free-flowing condition. The Upper St. Croix River was designated in this Act.
  • Lower St. Croix River Act: Enacted by Congress in 1972 to add the Lower St. Croix River to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System. Minnesota recognized and concurred with the federal designation by passing the Lower St. Croix Wild and Scenic River Act in 1973.
  • Minnesota's Wild & Scenic Rivers Act: Enacted by the State Legislature in 1973 to create a statewide system to preserve and protect rivers in Minnesota with outstanding natural, scenic, scientific, historic, cultural, and recreational values.

       See: Minnesota Statutes - Chapter 103F: Protection of Water Resources, Sections 103F.305 - 103F.345


As mandated by Minnesota's Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, the Department of Natural Resources has established statewide standards and criteria for designating, classifying, and managing the state's Wild & Scenic Rivers. These include minimum standards for land use, development, and administration.

Segments of six rivers have been designated under the Act (Kettle, Mississippi, North Fork of the Crow, Minnesota, Rum, and Cannon). Each designated stretch has rules that constitute the management plan for that river. The individual river plans include:

  • the classification of the river or river segments as wild, scenic and/or recreational;
  • the boundaries of the area along the river to be included within the system, which may not exceed 320 acres per mile on both sides of the river;
  • rules governing the use of public lands and waters within the designated area, which may differ from the statewide rules;
  • standards for local land use controls within the designated area, which may differ from statewide standards and criteria based on the particular attributes of the area;
  • rules regarding recreation management and the acquisition of land and/or scenic easements within the area; and
  • rules for administering the management plan.

Similar rules exist for the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.


Minnesota Rules Chapter 6105 - Wild, Scenic, & Recreational Rivers
(refer to the table below to find specific rules)

6105.0010 - 6105.0250Standards and Criteria for State-Designated Wild & Scenic Rivers
6105.0300 - 6105.0350Lower St. Croix Water Surface Use
6105.0351 - 6105.0440Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
6105.0500 - 6105.0550St. Croix Riverway Ordinance Administration and Enforcement
6105.0600 - 6105.0760Kettle River Management Plan
6105.0800 - 6105.0960Mississippi River Management Plan
6105.1000 - 6105.1130North Fork of the Crow River Management Plan
6105.1200 - 6105.1370Minnesota River Management Plan
6105.1400 - 6105.1500Rum River Management Plan
6105.1550 - 6105.1700Cannon River Management Plan


See the Minnesota State Legislature Web site for general information on the Minnesota legislative process including laws, statutes, and rules.

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