The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead

Washington, D.C. (October 18, 2006) – The National Scenic Byways Program celebrates its 15th anniversary in December and the occasion will be marked in Washington, D.C., with “The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead” on December 11, 2006. For a complete schedule of the program and a list of program sponsors, click here.

Sponsored by the Scenic Byways Coalition in cooperation with the America’s Byways Resource Center, the half-day program will begin at 1:00 pm at the Stephen Decatur House with welcoming remarks by the Honorable J. Richard Capka, Federal Highway Administrator. The program will include a visual history of the America’s Byways program and recollections of the program’s earliest champions. Distinguished guests will discuss the history and accomplishments of the National Scenic Byways program.

The celebration will continue with a reception and awards program at the Rayburn House Office Building beginning at 5:00 pm. A multimedia presentation “America’s Byways: The First 15 Years” will be followed by remarks from U.S. Representative James Oberstar, a key Congressional supporter of the National Scenic Byways Program. The event will conclude with an awards presentation honoring those who have contributed to the dramatic accomplishments of America’s Byways’ first 15 years and key byways champions including U.S. Representatives Jim Oberstar and Tom Petri, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, and former Transportation Secretaries Andrew Card, Frederico Pena, Rodney Slater and Norman Mineta.

A second major element of the 15th Anniversary celebration is the BYWAYS 2021 Blog. Essays by nationally prominent byways supporters who are thinking about opportunities over the next fifteen years are regularly added to the site and readers are encouraged to rate those dreams and add their own twists and insights. The essays explore harnessing new technologies to tell our stories and about byways as key to university geology courses, about ways to blend byways adventures with more physical activity and about better integration of national byways, state and local byways and the road programs of key federal agencies. The collected wisdom of the byways community produced through the Blog will be converted into as report to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission and the Administration. To visit the Byways 2021 Blog, click here.

On Tuesday, May 22, during the 2007 National Scenic Byways Conference, a BYWAYS 2021 Symposium will be held on the future of America’s Byways with national partners aiding in a high-tech, high-touch link-up that will link Baltimore and Washington and allow direct conversations between byways leaders and national figures shaping transportation, recreation, tourism and historic preservation policies. To learn more about the national conference, click here.

The final BYWAYS 2021 major initiative will be a cooperative effort to greatly augment the information available about successful byways projects and best practices.

Since its creation in December 1991, 126 routes have been designated as national scenic byways and All-American roads and some $300,000,000 has been invested in 2,100 competitively-awarded byways projects in all 50 states by the U. S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration which oversees the program.