It’s hard to believe there was a time when sewage and industrial waste flowed freely into our nation’s rivers and lakes. Thankfully that practice has been greatly curtailed as a result of The Clean Water Act, which today celebrates its 40th anniversary. This monumental piece of legislation was enacted to protect and restore the health of the nation’s surface waters and make them safe for drinking, swimming, fishing, and boating. Things travelers take for granted.
Many of the nation’s top travel destinations are linked to water:
Formed two million years ago, Lake Tahoe with its 72-miles of shoreline, is a traveler’s delight. Biking, golfing, gaming, hiking, shopping, skiing, and boating are just some of the activities that visitors can enjoy in and around this beautiful body of water that straddles the border between Nevada and California. More on visiting Lake Tahoe.
About half of the original Florida Everglades have been lost to development; however, the remaining wetlands are now protected and undergoing extensive preservation. The sawgrass marshes and cypress swamps are simply stunning. A visit to the Everglades National Park provides opportunities for bird-watching trips, trail walks, slough slogs, and canoe trips.
With a slightly misleading name, the Colorado River actually flows from Colorado through six other states before emptying into the Gulf of California. The river is best known for its thrilling rapids as well as the amazing views as it passes through the Grand Canyon. Fans of U.S. national parks will be pleased to know that eleven are situated along the river.
The key to the continued enjoyment of these and many other destinations is having everyone do their part to protect and preserve them.
“We have a responsibility to leave a legacy of healthy rivers and clean water supplies for our children and grandchildren,” said American Rivers President Bob Irvin. American Rivers is an advocacy group whose purpose is to to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams.
As we travel the United States, we need to keep in mind our role in keeping the rivers, streams and lakes we so enjoy free from pollution.
Guest writer Troy Petenbrink is a freelance writer and photographer. A member of the North Amercan Travel Writer Association, has been a travel writer for Miami Hearld, Metro Weekly, and TravelChannel.com, as well as a contributor to Fodor’s “535 Best Beaches.”