Did you know that Jimmy Carter has a history of canoeing adrenaline-pumping whitewater? This new film is part of the American Rivers 5000-miles project, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the rivers that have been protected because of it.
"There is a religious experience in coming over the top of a huge rapid and burying your bow-man," says whitewater legend Claude Terry. But what if your bow-man is Jimmy Carter?
The full film, The Wild President, is produced by NRS and American Rivers, and is live now:
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The Wild President tells the story of Carter's first descent down the Chattooga River's Bull Sluice Rapid in 1974. As Governor of Georgia and President of the United States, Carter was instrumental in protecting the Chattooga as a Wild and Scenic River, and helped conserve rivers across Georgia and the nation. The film also features conservationist Claude Terry, a founder of American Rivers and Doug Woodward, co-founded of Southeastern Expeditions.
October 2, 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. American Rivers and NRS produced The Wild President as part of the 5,000 Miles of Wild campaign, an effort to protect 5,000 new miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers nationwide. The film will be used in public outreach and education efforts in support of Wild and Scenic Rivers.
"President Carter's connection to rivers runs deep and he has been a champion for wild rivers over the course of his lifetime. We are honored to share this story and we hope it will inspire a new generation to speak up and protect the rivers that connect us all," said Amy Kober, National Communications Director for American Rivers.
"In an era when public lands and clean, healthy waters – concepts we once took for granted in America – face grave threats, President Carter's example as a steward and guardian of rivers is inspiring. We hope this film helps renew our commitment as a nation to protecting free-flowing rivers and wild places for generations to come," said Mark Deming, NRS Director of Marketing.
The federal Wild and Scenic designation safeguards values including clean drinking water, recreation and fish and wildlife. Wild and Scenic Rivers include beloved reaches such as the Middle Fork Salmon, Tuolumne, Flathead, Rogue, Chattooga, Rio Grande, Upper Delaware and New, among many others.
The designation prohibits new dams and harmful water projects. It engages communities and landowners to create locally-driven river management plans, while honoring existing water rights and common uses such as irrigated agriculture and hunting.
Today, less than one percent of America's rivers remain wild and free. Without official protection, rivers are vulnerable to destruction from dams, pollution, oil and gas development and other threats.
"I think it's very important for all Americans to take a stand, a positive stand, in protecting wild rivers," President Carter says in the film. "I hope that all Americans will join together with me and others who love the outdoors to protect this for our children and our grandchildren."