The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has joined “Friends of America’s Byways,” a coalition of 25 RV, outdoor recreation, travel and tourism organizations, in urging Congress not to repeal the popular National Scenic Byways program.
According to a press release, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are currently considering their own versions of legislation guiding a new national surface transportation policy. In the House version (H.R. 7), a five-year highway bill also known as the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, has a provision that would entirely repeal the National Scenic Byways Program. The Senate legislation (S. 1813), a two-year bipartisan bill also known as “MAP-21,” does not repeal the byways program, but it would not continue the competitive grant program and the technical assistance program through the America’s Byways Resource Center.
In their lobbying effort, the “Friends of America’s Byways” are asking the House to remove language from Section 1601 of H.R. 7 that would repeal the National Scenic Byways Program while also urging the Senate to confirm that S. 1813 continues the byways program and that byways projects remain eligible for funds apportioned to the states.
The National Scenic Byways Program was created in 1991 with strong and bipartisan champions. Support came from the transportation, recreation, tourism, historic preservation, conservation and scenic communities. Although small in budget, the program has now attained a large and national base of supporters. Secretaries of Transportation in each administration since the creation of the program have designated a total of 150 National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads that showcase “the nation’s natural grandeur, history, and culture.”
Especially noteworthy is that this network of byways – which pass through and connect with hundreds of national and state parks, wildlife refuges and national forests – has been identified as a core element in promoting international visitation and creating jobs by the new Brand USA corporation chartered by Congress just two years ago.
For further information on this issue, contact American Recreation Coalition (ARC) President Derrick Crandall, who is heading up the “Friends of America’s Byways,” at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 682-9530.
The 2011 National Scenic Byway Conference will be held Aug. 21-24 in Minneapolis.
The conference theme is “Livability, Sustainability, Responsibility” and promises many opportunities for networking, sharing information and experiencing byways firsthand, as well as keeping informed about the issues facing the National Scenic Byway Program as the U.S. Congress grapples with the next Transportation Program Bill, according to a news release from the National Scenic Byway Foundation.
The National Scenic Byway Foundation will have a presence during the entire conference with workshop sessions, exhibit and a networking/showcasing reception and silent auction event titled “Milling Around” Tuesday evening (Aug. 23) at the historic Mill City Museum along the banks of the Mississippi River on the Grand Rounds and Great River Road National Scenic Byways.
Conference highlights include a session led by the Federal Highway Administration titled “Livable Communities and the Future of the National Scenic Byway Program,” which will provide insight into how surface transportation reauthorization legislation may affect the future of the Program, especially in the context of fostering livable communities.
The America’s Byways Resource Center, Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) will honor outstanding byway projects and leadership at an awards dinner Wednesday evening during the conference.
In an effort to help byways become more sustainable organizations and to help them adjust in light of the current economic uncertainty, workshops scheduled for the conference will focus on finances, byway organization, corridor management and visitor experience.
Additional information and registration for the conference are available online at www.BywaysResourceCenter.org. For further information about the National Scenic Byway Foundation, go to www.nsbfoundation.com.
The following is an article authored by Dave Caldwell appearing in the New York Times Travel section highlighting the National Scenic Byways Program.
A shaded two-lane road — narrow, bumpy and without lines in stretches — hugs the Delaware & Raritan Canal as it meanders through virtually unspoiled countryside no more than 10 miles west of the wide and rumbling New Jersey Turnpike corridor.
This road from Kingston, N.J., to East Millstone, N.J., is meant to be taken at no more than 30 miles an hour as it passes a stable and picnic spots near the village of Griggstown. To the north is Blackwells Mills and a rustic canal house that has stood since 1835 or so.
Much faster north-south thoroughfares slice through the central part of the state, but this road, part of what has been designated the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway by the United States Department of Transportation, remains an antidote, truly a pleasure drive. Since the National Scenic Byways Program was established 20 years ago, 150 roadways in 46 states have been recognized for their cultural, historic and scenic qualities.
“The interstates are great for getting from sea to shining sea, but there’s nothing in between,” said Derrick Crandall, president of the nonprofit American Recreation Coalition. Of the byways, Crandall said, “They’re like necklaces, or a charm bracelet, adorned with great places to stop.”
An annual survey of 1,000 Americans commissioned by Goodyear determines 50 scenic byways that are the most aesthetically pleasing and fun to drive. The Millstone Valley Scenic Byway was one of nine starting within 250 miles of New York City to make the most recent list.
To read the entire article and view a slide show click here.