About CHRS

About the CHRS

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS) is Canada’s national river conservation program. Established in 1984, the CHRS gives national recognition to Canada’s outstanding rivers and encourages their long-term management to conserve their natural, cultural and recreational values for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians, now and in the future.

There are currently 42 Canadian Heritage Rivers (39 designated, and three nominated) across the country, totalling close to 12,000 km.


An interactive map of the CHRS will be added soon

How the CHRS Works

The CHRS is a federal-provincial-territorial government program that works with community-level river stewardship groups to promote and conserve rivers with outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values. All conservation actions on Canadian Heritage Rivers are voluntary and depend on existing laws and regulations.

Proponents of river nominations work with their provincial or territorial governments to research and prepare the documents that are part of the nomination and designation process. The approval of the relevant provincial or territorial Minister and of the Minister responsible for Parks Canada (the Minister of Environment and Climate Change) represents the final step in the nomination and designation process.

A step-by step guide to the process can be found on the nomination and designation page.

Who is Responsible for the CHRS?

The following members of the CHRS Team have important roles in the administration and delivery of the CHRS program:

  • The Canadian Heritage Rivers Board,
  • Parks Canada,
  • The Technical Planning Committee,
  • River managers.

Why the CHRS Matters

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System recognizes that rivers are essential to our health, our communities, and our identity as Canadians. The CHRS works with Canadians to conserve rivers and to tell their stories… the stories of our country.

The CHRS celebrates the importance of rivers to Indigenous people, to explorers, to voyageurs and settlers, to industry and the economy, to our landscape, to the environment, and to our well-being.