Amerikan Exposé

Scenic Byways

Scenic Byways or Federal Thoroughfares?
The song "America the Beautiful" describes the awesome beauty of how God has blessed our nation. We love our beautiful scenic land, so why then are we buying into Scenic Byways, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Scenic Trails and other "scenic" programs at the risk of losing our personal property rights? [read more]

Plan for Scenic Byway in Greene County Arouses Controversy
Scenic Byway designations are touted as innocent measures to promote tourism by encouraging beautification while bringing in government grants. However, Frederick W. Dedrick, Sr., a councilman in the town of Athens in Greene County, has held up local support for the designation of Route 385 as a Scenic Byway because he fears that property rights will be infringed. [read more]

Viewsheds: As far as the eye can see - and [also] the adjacent area
There is a lot of skepticism about Scenic Byways from the people who own property adjacent to the byway. Does it make a road more scenic to bear the title of a National or State Scenic Byway, or does it bring more regulations and government controls? "Protecting Our Working Landscapes with Scenic Byways," an article by Scenic America, explains that Scenic Byways are an opportunity to protect working lands and recognize their aesthetic and cultural and natural value.While all of this sounds good, think about whose land they plan to protect. If this is a scenic road running through the middle of your property, how do you think they will protect the visitor's scenic view -- the viewshed -- on your property? [read more]

Scenic Byways: Innocent Sounding Land Management
Scenic Byways are designated by a state legislature after nomination by a state agency, local government or a private organization, like ANCA did with their “theme trails.” State Scenic Byways can be bumped up to become federal Scenic Byways, again upon nomination by the state or locality or a private organization, and these can be further nominated as sort of a “super-Scenic Byway,” called an “All American Road.” This 1992 map shows the “Champlain Trail” that runs to the Canadian border, which has now become the “Lakes to Locks Passage” All-American Road, which I’ll talk about a little later. Going back to the “macro” to “micro” or vice versa, this U.S. map shows the network of National Scenic Byways and All American Roads. Then zooming in to the Olympic Trail, this guidebook shows the NYS Scenic Byways, then the North Country Scenic Byways, then this one that shows a portion of the Olympic Trail from Piercefield to Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County. These are slick brochures showing beautifully photographed waterfalls, covered bridges, historic buildings, diners and farm markets, boats at sunset and wildlife. There’s no photos of abandoned buildings or closed businesses, no mining or logging operations, certainly no junkyards or mobile home parks, nothing mundane like a school or any of the ordinary houses and businesses along these roads, just picturesque small towns and countryside and the things that tourists like. These byways require something called a “Corridor Management Plan.” The federal ISTEA law set up a 17-member “Scenic Byway Advisory Committee” to “develop standards for design review” in these corridor plans. This Advisory Committee consists of federal agencies, including the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, plus appointees from various interests, including environmental, recreational and historic organizations. The only overt commercial interest represented is the “outdoor advertising industry.” I have the handbooks produced for the “Corridor Management Planning” purposes, telling how to organize Byway advocates and how to keep control of the public information process. Listed as contributors to these manuals are organizations like Scenic America and National Trust for Historic Preservation. [read more]