Wildcat River: Milestones in conservation and stewardship


Wildcat Brook runs down through Jackson, New Hampshire where it flows into the Ellis River. As it comes down into Jackson it flows over a series of cascades called the Jackson Falls or Wildcat Falls. Photo courtesy of Mike Freedman

NEW HAMPSHIRE – The history of Wildcat River, located on the White Mountain National Forest, has been featured in the River Management Society Journal. Saco Ranger District Wildlife Biologist, Jessie Dubuque, writes of the history of the conservation effort undertaken to preserve this picturesque New England river.

The Wildcat River is a tributary of the Saco River in northern New Hampshire. The headwaters originate in the scenic White Mountain National Forest above the Carter Notch Lakes and flow south as a small mountain stream. 

The Wildcat River’s designation as a Wild and Scenic River is unique because:

  1. It is based on a River Conservation Plan developed during the river study process
  2. It resulted in adoption of significant new local zoning and land-use ordinances to protect river values by the local town government
  3. It allows acquisition of lands outside the boundary of the White Mountain National Forest only through donation or with consent of the owner

The outstanding scenic beauty, high-quality water, and recreational value of the river and Jackson

Falls has provided a centerpiece for the historic resort town, as Jackson evolved from its agricultural origins a century ago to the rural, tourism-based resort community that it is today.

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the story of the Wildcat River provides inspiration. Nine years of dedicated work by concerned local citizen groups, conservation organizations, and government entities resulted in the designation of the Wildcat as a Wild and Scenic River in 1988.

For more on Wildcat River, click here to read the full article (pages 10 – 11).