Fifteen Years of America’s Byways®
The National Scenic Byways Program has an impressive record. Since the establishment of the Program the nation has moved from a handful of disparate State and Federal programs and established an enviable nationwide collection of routes that showcase the land and people resources of the United States. Early goals to establish a baseline of quality, uniformity of visitor expectations for basic services, and a steadfast commitment to voluntary participation have largely been met. The 126 designated America’s Byways® demonstrate that partnerships with Tribal, State, and local governments, and advocacy organizations can produce favorable results that no single entity could have achieved on its own.
As the America’s Byways® collection enters its second fifteen years, this report has been designed to provide a baseline of information and a summary of progress made to date. The information collected and summarized herein outlines fifteen years of growth and provides a touchstone by which the future evolution of the Program may be evaluated.
Since the National Scenic Byways Program was established in 1992, FHWA and its partners have built an impressive collection of byways across the United States. The 126 routes in 44 States and 12 Tribal homelands showcase the six intrinsic qualities identified to define the characteristics of America’s Byways®.
The Program’s growth has been due to many factors including a careful designation process, corridor management planning; grants program; technical assistance; and Tribal, State and local partners. These components, combined with a commitment to a grassroots, "bottoms up" approach, have allowed the designated byway routes to truly showcase the land and people resources of the United States through unique local resources, values, and traditions.
It has also established a unique relationship among State, Indian tribe, and local byway managers with the FHWA. Strong local advocates, in partnership with the NSBP, have developed innovate management structures, resource-based protection strategies, and creative marketing campaigns. Many of these local partners have become vocal advocates for the value of byways to their communities and the important role of FHWA in managing the America’s Byways® collection.