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UAlbany, NYS DOT, Hudson River Valley Greenway Team to Develop New York's Scenic Byways

Whitehall, N.Y.

Whitehall, at the intersection of Lake Champlain and Champlain Canal, is a key stop on the Lakes to Locks Passage -- one of New York's three scenic byways. (Photo Barbara Weibel, Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel)

 
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ALBANY, N.Y. (October 15, 2010) -- Researchers from the University at Albany have partnered with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and Hudson River Valley Greenway to help New York communities establish scenic byway designation for the state's roads and highways.

The National Scenic Byways Program recognizes specific roads in the United States based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. "Scenic Byway" designation of a road corridor, highway or highway segment offers economic and cultural benefits to the communities in which it is located. A Corridor Management Plan (CMP) is the key document for a road to achieve designation as a scenic byway. UAlbany's Department of Geography and Planning has created a guide book, website and DVD detailing CMP requirements, to help communities access the resources needed to garner federal support for a scenic byway designation.

"Scenic Byways provide a picturesque and educational drive through New York's most beautiful areas," said NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee. "This new guidebook, DVD and web site will be useful resources for communities as they develop scenic byways across New York State.  Since 1992, when the Department first implemented the Scenic Byways program, our efforts to promote scenic byways have continued to help spur economic development and tourism, while highlighting New York’s history and splendor."

"Scenic byways offer a unique traveling experience for tourists while helping to enhance quality of life for residents," said Acting Executive Director Mark A. Castiglione, Hudson River Valley Greenway. "This new guidebook and companion website will give communities the tools they need to leverage their natural, historic and cultural resources to create a scenic byway."

Stockade District in Schenectady.

Schenectady's Stockade District is among the stops celebrating New York's rich history and culture along the Mohawk Towpath Byway.

The Hudson River Valley Greenway is an innovative state sponsored-program that facilitates the development of a regional strategy for preserving natural and cultural resources, while encouraging compatible economic development and maintaining the tradition of home rule for land use decision-making. The Greenway engaged the research team, headed by Associate Professor of Geography and Planning David A. Lewis, and provided $130,000 in funding from the state Department of Transportation for the project. The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development also assisted in the development of the guide book.

"This project helps advance New York, economically and culturally, by providing all of the tools communities need in order to garner federal designation of their roads as scenic byways," said Lewis. "Our goal is to create the framework for cities and towns to work together to promote New York's cultural history and natural beauty."

The website and guidebook serve as critical tools for planners, community officials, and non-profit organizations seeking to create or advance a scenic byway. The resources cover the guidelines in the New York State Scenic Byways Nomination Handbook as well as federal guidelines for preparation of a corridor management plan. The Scenic Byway Program can catalyze regional cooperation as communities work together to pursue byway designation.

New York's designated byways include: the Lakes to Locks Passage, which explore the state's canal system; the Mohawk Towpath Byway, which highlights 18th and 19th Century architecture and famous battle sites of the Revolutionary War; and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, which explores Niagara Falls and the historical sites of the War of 1812.

The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.

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